Figure skating-Virtue & Moir ready to conquer Olympic team event

NICE, France, March 30 Fri Mar 30, 2012 1:25pm EDT

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NICE, France, March 30 (Reuters) - Olympic champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir gave a big thumbs up on Friday to the new team figure skating competition that will be introduced at the 2014 Sochi Winter Games.

Less than 24 hours after capturing their second ice dance gold medal at the world championships, the couple's eyes lit up at the thought of winning two Olympic titles in Russia.

"It's really exciting. Any chance we have to skate for another Olympic medal, it's amazing," a smiling Virtue told Reuters after enjoying her first stress-free day in Nice.

Moir was even more enthusiastic.

"Step on Olympic ice, be in an Olympic venue, we'll take it. Add three more events, we'll be there for all of them," he grinned.

Ten nations, with each featuring a male and female single skater, a pairs team and an ice dance couple, will compete over three days to win the first gold medal of the figure skating event in the Russian Black Sea resort.

While all 10 teams will compete in the short programme, the top five will then battle it out for the medals in the free skate.

The Canadians admitted they were originally concerned about the team battle taking place before the individual competitions but their coach Marina Zueva helped to ease their worries.

"Originally we had wished it was the reverse (the individual competitions were before the team) but Marina's perspective was that having the team event first would be a great chance for us to get out and feel the Olympic energy, feel the vibe... almost like a warm-up before the individual competition," said Virtue.

Moir added: "Anytime there is an Olympic medal on the line, I'm pretty competitive. I know that I won't be able to sleep at night knowing it was us that lost the gold for Canada. So we're going to do everything we can to give the Canadians the best opportunity to win." (Editing by Alison Wildey)

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