Tessa Virtue is the kind of woman who walks into a room and leaves an impression.
Maybe it’s her genuine smile or her contagious enthusiasm, but more likely it’s because you know that you’re hanging out with a very accomplished young woman—although she’s hardly the type to mention it. By the time she was 20, Tessa was an Olympic pairs ice dancer (along with partner, Scott Moir), earning gold at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver and two silver medals in 2014 in Sochi. Now that she’s stepped back from intense competing, she’s able to open herself up to a world of new and exciting opportunities, from career-related projects to new personal goals.
We caught up with this inspiring 25-year-old to find out what life is all about now that she’s spreading her wings.
SFM: Did you always aspire to the Olympics, or was it a gradual realization that you would make it to the Games some day?
TV: When I was young, I used to say that I wanted to go to the Olympics for gymnastics, mostly because that’s what my older sister wanted. Truthfully, I didn’t grow up going to the rink and dreaming of skating on the world’s largest stage. But, when we were chosen as alternates for the 2006 Games in Turin, Italy, I was absolutely devastated. It crushed me. And, as a 16 year old, it was hard to maintain perspective. I knew that from 2006 to 2010 I would do anything and everything to be at the Olympics. And not just be there, but be the best.
SFM: Will you compete again?
TV: Part of me thinks yes, and the other thinks no. Watching the next Olympics from home would be heartbreaking and I can’t imagine not being in the competitive sphere again. On the other hand, if we retired now it would be entirely on our terms – we have accomplished our goals and enjoyed a fantastic career together.
SFM: What are your goals now?
TV: I’m very close to finishing my psychology degree. School has proven to be a healthy outlet for me, providing balance despite the all-consuming world of sport.
SFM: Do you have interest in trying other sports?
TV: I grew up in a very sports-oriented family and I’m a huge fan, so having some freedom to try new sports is extremely exciting. I love golf, so I hope to have the chance to play more. I also really want to take tennis lessons! This winter, I skied for the first time, which was a wonderful challenge.
SFM: How have your workouts evolved, post-competing?
TV: My workouts are so much more fun. I’m able to challenge myself in new ways without worrying about how my on-ice training may be affected. For over a decade, every exercise was designed with a purpose—it needed to be functional and apply directly to what I needed to execute on the ice. Now, I can wear boxing gloves and hit a punching bag if I want to, simply because it’s an awesome workout.
SFM: Do you follow a particular diet or food plan?
TV: If I had to categorize my diet it would be just eating clean. I make sure to get lots of protein, and I love fruits and vegetables. However, I also leave room for treats. I’m a sucker for any and all kinds of dessert, and I’ve learned not to deprive myself, but rather maintain a healthy balance.
SFM: In your opinion, what makes a woman strong?
TV: A strong woman, to me, is a woman who knows who she is – someone who is confident, competent, and authentic. A strong woman supports others, inspires those around her, and never compromises her values.
Get more of Tessa’s interview and her functional training routine in the March/April issue of
STRONG Fitness Magazine.
Written by Sandy Braz, Deputy Editor | Photography by Paul Buceta