The pair will be honoured with special ceremonies in their respective hometowns of London, Ont. and Ilderton, Ont. on Aug. 7. The four-time world champions and five-time Olympic medallists both told HELLO! Canada they find the whole thing a bit surreal.
“It’s kind of strange because we’ve always said we’re not saving lives, we’re just ice dancing,” Tessa said. “And what we do is meaningful to us and we love representing our country, but to be recognized on that stage is really quite something.”
Scott said he hadn’t even contemplated the possibility of being honoured in such a way.
“Tessa and I have been working together at our goals for over 20 years, so to see them culminate the way they did last February at PyeongChang was amazing, but these little things, you don’t really ever think about,” he said, pointing out that they are both still very young.
Tessa and Scott began skating together in 1997, when they were eight and 10 years old, respectively. It quickly became apparent they were a blockbuster pairing, and after five years of skating together they won bronze at the 2002 Canadian Championships as novices. By 2005, they were the most decorated junior-level ice dancers of all time.
Four years later, they had won gold at the Canadian Championships, which was followed up by the highlight of their careers at that point: gold at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. They became the youngest ever ice dancing team to win a gold, and the first Canadians to do so at home. They took two silvers at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, which they followed with two golds at the Pyeongchang Olympics in 2018.
Scott said everything comes back to Ilderton for him.
“Fame is something that I never really think about, I don’t really gauge my success on,” Scott told HELLO! Canada. “But what I can say is the support that we’ve gotten over the years, over our careers, that keep us going, that fuels us every day, the support from Canadian people and the support from the people in our community is the reason why we have this star on the Walk of Fame.”
Tessa said she can’t thank the community enough for its support.
“From the very beginning, Ilderton and London respectfully, they’ve been so supportive of us and it’s been a long career for us, almost 22 years already,” she said. “They’ve really lived our journeys with us and we’re just so grateful. Whether we were competing at home at the Budweiser Garden or in PyeongChang in Korea, we always felt like our hometowns were with us and part of that story. And that we get to celebrate with those closest to us means the world to us.”
Canada’s Walk of Fame launched its Hometown Stars program in 2017. It is intended to provide all inductees with the additional opportunity to give back to their home communities and have a plaque mounted in a location of their or their families’ choice. CEO Jeffrey Latimer said it’s part of the Walk of Fame’s new mission to be a national platform instead of one centred on Toronto. All inductees are also provided with $10,000 to donate to a cause of their choice.
Tessa has chosen to contribute $10,000 to the London Abused Women’s Centre, a feminist agency that provides women and girls with long-term, women-centred counseling, support, and advocacy and addresses many of the issues and barriers faced by women and girls. Scott has chosen the Lions Club in Ilderton, which he said is helping “fill the gaps in municipal funding” so kids can continue to have access to sports.
Jeffrey told HELLO! Canada Tessa and Scott were not only chosen because of how they’ve helped their communities, but also because of how they learn by getting back up after falling down and trying again – literally, in their cases. That can be difficult to do alone, but it shows true commitment when you’re doing it with someone else.
“Many of the athletes that have been inducted, they weren’t sort of in their prime, it was later in their career that they got inducted, or at the end of their career after they retired,” Jeffrey said. “It was really important for us for two reasons for Tessa and Scott. One, because they’re still on top of the world. They’re still a household name, they just got back from winning again at the Olympics. They’re young, they’re youthful. These were all really important things.
“But the second thing that I think we love about Tessa and Scott is what does it take to truly partner with someone to become the best in the world? I think that’s something that people forget a lot.”
Tessa and Scott head out on a 31-date tour of Canada dubbed Rock the Rink this November. The idea is to combine live rock music with skating. Canadian Olympians and figure skating legends including Elvis Stojko, Patrick Chan and Kaetlyn Osmond will be involved, as will America’s Jeremy Abbott and Italy’s Carolina Kostner. Tessa told HELLO! Canada the preparation for the extensive jaunt has made her and Scott reflect on their careers so far.
“One thing Scott and I have really been [thinking about] is where do we find joy and fulfillment?” she said. “Funny enough, it’s not podiums or holding a gold medal. Those are nice markers of the fact that we pursued something and accomplished a dream, but it’s really that process. It’s the grind of training. It's that full commitment to something and investing everything. It’s that feeling of vulnerability and embracing your fears and facing your fears and kind of putting yourself out there.
“I think it’s just that whole kind of, not to sound too cliche, but it’s that whole process of pursuing something,” she continued. “And, I think if we’ve learned anything, it’s that there has to be joy in the details and there has to be some kind of gratification every day from the hard work. And it is that, I mean there’s no shortcut to success, it’s just a lot of hard work and sacrifice.”
Scott said if he had any advice for young people pursuing their dreams, it would be just that – work hard and follow what you love.
“The big thing is having that passion,” he said. “In sports, I mean, that’s what we're drawing off after even 22 years of being together, being passionate about your craft, really finding the love for what you do and letting that passion fuel you.”