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Robin Cousins

British figure skater Robin Cousins achieved Olympic glory in 1980, when he won the gold medal in the men's figure skating - one of a multitude of competitions he won during a glittering competitive career. Since his retirement from skating, the 60-year-old icon has carved out a new career on television as a judge on Dancing on Ice.

As well as his gold medal at the Lake Placid Winter Olympics in New York, Cousins was also the 1980 European champion and the four-times British national champion from 1977 to 1980. He won the free skating section at the World Championships three times - from 1978 to 1980 - and won silver overall at the World Championships in 1979 and 1980.Robin Cousins

 

Early life

Born in Bristol on 17th August 1957, Cousins was the youngest of three brothers. He began ice skating at nine years old at Westover Road Ice Rink on a family holiday to Bournemouth. He enjoyed it so much that he asked for skating lessons as a Christmas present - going on to train as a singles skater and in ice-dancing.

In 1969, he won his first junior national title at the age of 12. At the age of 14, and as the British Junior Champion, he began to compete on the international stage.

He left school at 16 to focus on his fledgling skating career, moving to London and taking a job shelf-stacking in a department store to make ends meet.

 

Career highlights

Following his astounding early success in the British, European and World championships, Cousins' Olympic glory was the pinnacle of his amateur career. The 22-year-old star's complex artistic routine won him the Olympic gold, and he firmly established himself as a figure-skating legend.

Turning professional in 1980 after the Olympics, Cousins starred in a number of skating shows including Ice Capades and Holiday on Ice. He continued skating competitively in the World Professional Championships and broke two Guinness World Records for the longest axel jump at 5.81 metres and the longest backflip at 5.48 metres on 16th November 1983.

 

Ice shows

In 1983, the 26-year-old star formed his own ice-skating production company, going on tour across the world with many professional ice shows, such as Ice Majesty and Electric Ice. They received great critical acclaim and were adored by the fans.

He has also produced, directed, choreographed and starred in numerous international television ice shows including Sleeping Beauty on Ice, The Nutcracker: A Fantasy on Ice, Toy Story on Ice, The Wizard of Oz on Ice, Holiday on Ice, Andrew Lloyd Webber's Starlight Express on Ice and the film, The Cutting Edge.

 

Stage and TV

Cousins has been a guest presenter and commentator on BBC Sport for many ice-skating championships over the years. He has been a commentator for the Winter Olympics and for the European and World Figure Skating Championships.

Between 2006 and 2014, he was head judge on the TV reality show Dancing on Ice in which celebrities, partnered by a professional skater, learn how to ice dance and compete against each other.

Away from the ice rink, Cousins has appeared in several musical stage shows in a number of leading roles. He played Munkustrap in Cats, the Prince in Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella and Frank N Furter in The Rocky Horror Show in London's West End.

He has also played the Prince in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at Belfast's Grand Opera House and Jack Frost in the Return of Jack Frost at the Mayflower Theatre, Southampton.

 

Other achievements

Cousins has worked with the British synchronised swimming team, channelling his coaching talents in a new direction to help them prepare for the London Olympics in 2012. His ice-skating background of setting routines to music helped, as he worked on improving the formations using some classic skating lifts.

He helped by adding acrobatic lifts to formations such as "Big Ben into the Flying" – a formation that gave the impression of a rotating tower that transformed into a flying position.

Cousins, who was inducted into the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 2005, has recently joined the Art of the Olympians organisation, which is a programme run by Olympians and Paralympians to promote Olympic ideals and values while celebrating the connection between art and sport.

The former Olympic champion lives in Lancing, near Brighton. He supports charity work and is a patron of Meningitis UK and the Starr Trust children's charity.

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