Who are Torvill and Dean? Why are they famous? When did they perform the Bolero?

The skaters were well known long before Dancing on Ice

Dancing On Ice 2019 Torvill and Dean

Dancing on Ice is back yet again, and returning with it are judges Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean who have been with the show ever since it started all the way back in 2006.

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However Torvill and Dean have been household names long before they were teaching Gemma Collins how to stay upright on the ice – beginning with a little event called the 1984 Olympics.

Here’s how the two became the highest scoring figure skaters of all time…

Who are Torvill and Dean?

Torvill and Dean

Both Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean were born in Nottinghamshire, and grew up in the area in working-class families.

Torvill started taking lessons aged eight following an after-school trip, while Dean’s parents took him to the rink every Saturday once he was 10 years old.

As fate would have it both were attending the same ice rink – but didn’t interact for the first few years. Jayne told Radio Times: “My first memory of Chris is seeing him at the ice rink one Saturday afternoon in 1971. He stood out because he was whizzing around so fast and had blond hair. That’s when I named him the Blond Prince.”

Both had previous partners, but by 1975 both couples had parted ways – allowing coach Janet Sawbridge to pair them up.

They were soon competing in competitions both nationally and internationally, winning winning in Oberstdorf and coming third in the British Championships in 1977.

What happened to Torvill and Dean at the Olympics?

Revered skating trainer Betty Callaway became the pair’s trainer in 1979, and the following year Torvill and Dean quit their jobs to focus on skating full time.

They placed fifth in the 1980 winter Olympics, then fourth in the World Champions, until they eventually started coming first place in international competitions – and were favourites to win at the next Olympics.

At the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo, Torvill and Dean choreographed a performance to Maurice Ravel’s Boléro – and the rest is history.

Not only did they win gold, but Torvill and Dean received 12 perfect 6.0s and six 5.9s to become the highest scoring figure skaters of all time in a performance that was watched by over 24million people in the UK.

The two have since recreated the Boléro countless times over the years, most prominently on Dancing on Ice where contestants also traditionally attempt the iconic dance during the final.

Did Torvill and Dean have a romantic relationship?

After years of skating together and a heavily publicised romantic performance in the Boléro, rumours were rife that the two were romantically involved.

Jayne told Radio Times: “Because the is very romantic, the media were convinced we were a couple. One journalist said, ‘So, Chris, when are you getting married?’ and he said, ‘Not yet!’ And that was it – there were reports that we were going to get married. I thought, ‘Oh no! Why did you say that?’”

Dean later admitted on Piers Morgan’s Life Stories that the two “dabbled” – which turned out to be a single kiss long before they were a famous ice skating duo.

Christopher insists: “Dabblegate was just a teenage kiss in the back of a bus. We were 14 years old, and teenagers in the most naive sense. We didn’t talk about it much after. The skating was everything and having a relationship just didn’t occur to us.”

The two are now both happily seeing other people – Torvill has been married to American sound engineer Philip Christensen for 29 years, and Dean is in a relationship with Dancing on Ice judge Karen Barber.

What happened after the Olympics?

Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean on Dancing on Ice
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Torvill and Dean turned professional after the Olympics, meaning they could finally earn some money from skating but were ineligible for the Olympics.

Once the Olympic Committee finally relaxed the rules Torvill and Dean won bronze at the 1994 Winter Olympics in Norway, before hanging up their skates for good in 1998.

That was until a little show called Dancing on Ice tempted them out of retirement in 2006. The two have been closely involved either as coaches or judges in all 12 series, and frequently perform routines such as the Boléro on the programme.

In 2018 a biopic, aptly named Torvill and Dean, chronicled their career and was given a primetime slot on ITV on Christmas Day, with Ackley Bridge’s Poppy Lee Friar and Humans star Will Tudor as the legendary ice duo.

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Dancing on Ice launches on Sunday December 22nd at 7pm on ITV