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Torvill and Dean

Thanks to their impressive tally of medals and titles, Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean are the best-known British ice-dancers of all time. They will forever be remembered for their enchanting performance to Ravel's Boléro at the 1984 Winter Olympics.

The former World and Olympic champions won the gold medal at the Sarajevo Winter Olympics, becoming the highest-scoring figure skaters in history. They received twelve perfect 6s and six 5.9s from the judges - including scores of 6 for artistic impression from all the judges.

They achieved greatness as World and European champions four times in succession from 1981 to 1984. Turning professional after their epic Olympic victory, they subsequently won the world professional championships five times between 1984 and 1996.

Thanks to a rule change, they were permitted to enter the 1994 Winter Olympics at Lillehammer in Norway, where they looked set for another victory but they were controversially penalised for moves that the judges deemed illegal and ended up winning the bronze medal.

 

Early career

The Nottingham-born skaters, coached first by Betty Callaway and later by Janet Sawbridge, both skated with different partners in the early 1970s. Torvill, who began skating at the age of eight, had won the British Junior Pairs championship with her then partner, Michael Hutchenson. She had worked as an insurance clerk before taking up skating full-time.

Dean, who began skating when he was 10, had been a police officer before becoming a full-time skater. He had earlier won the British Junior Ice Dance championship with his then partner, Sandra Elson. It was Janet Sawbridge who first tried Torvill and Dean out together.

The partnership was successful from the start and they won their first trophy in 1976 and came fifth at their first Olympics in 1980 at Lake Placid.

 

Olympic legends

In the early 1980s, actor and singer Michael Crawford became their mentor and he helped them to create their famous 1984 Olympic routine. He later described it as teaching them "how to act". Crawford was at the ringside when they achieved their perfect Olympic score in front of 8,500 spectators at the Zetra Olympic Ice Hall, while a further 24 million viewers were watching it on television in the UK.

Later in their career, the duo turned professional and went on a highly successful tour called Face the Music. Dean went on to choreograph a selection of dances for the English National Ballet to the songs of Paul Simon, toured with Stars on Ice and collaborated with director Patricia Rozema and cellist Yo-Yo Ma on a video, Inspired by Bach: Six Gestures.

In 1998, Torvill and Dean produced Ice Adventures at Wembley Stadium in London, including a flying ice ballet. They also choreographed for Anissina and Peizerat, the famous French ice dance team who went on to win the 2000 World Championships.

 

Dancing on Ice

Torvill and Dean officially retired from competitive skating in 1998. However, they were persuaded to come out of retirement to become creative directors of the ITV show, Dancing on Ice, in 2006.

Torvill and Dean

The show which ran until 2014 brought celebrities and professional ice-skaters together to perform a new routine for the judges each week. The lowest-scoring couple would be up for elimination and it would be in the hands of the public to save them with their vote. Torvill and Dean also performed on the show, including their famous Boléro routine.

It is rumoured that Torvill and Dean are to swap their coaching roles for the judges' panel, as the show is set to make a return to our screens in 2018 - although this has yet to be confirmed.

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