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Jayne Torvill & Christopher Dean
Jayne Torvill was born in Nottingham in 1957. Her parents, George and Betty owned a newsagents & confectioners shop in Old Basford on Nottingham's ring road. Jayne attended Milford Junior School in Clifton where she became hooked on ice skating during a school trip to her local ice rink when she was eight. At a considerable financial cost to her parents, Jayne had two-hour practice sessions, before and after school, three times a week. It was all worth it when, as a 14 year old, she won the British National Pairs Championships with her then partner Michael Hutchenson.
I was born and brought up in Nottingham, so it was an exciting moment when I was able to meet two local 'legends'. Jayne Torvill & Christopher Dean were at the Nottingham Ice Arena in October 2014 to sign copies of their new autobiography Our Life on Ice. It was a real preasure to meet them, and my dad took this super photo of the three of us.
Jayne with her parents Betty & George
Young Jayne with her skating trophies
Christopher Dean was born in 1958 in Calverton, a mining village near Nottingham. His parents, Colin and Mavis, were keen ballroom dancers, but after they separated when Christopher was 6 years old. This traumatic experience is well documented in his book Our Life on Ice, and it hadaserious,
enjoying a seaside holiday
had a serious, long lasting, emotionaleffect
emotional effect on him. It was, however, Christopher's stepmother who encouraged his interest in skating after he received his first pair of ice skates as a Christmas present whenhewas
Christopher Dean & Sandra Elson in 1974
when he was ten. His skating coaches found him to be a perfectionist who would practice endlessly. Like Jayne, he won many trophies at junior level, including the British Primary Dance Championships in 1972 and the British Junior Dance Championships in 1974, both with his first partner Sandra Elson.
Jayne Torvill & Christopher Dean in 1979
Jayne Torvill & Christopher Dean in 1981
In 1975, both Jayne and Christopher were looking for a skating partner. At the time, Torvill was supporting herself with a job as an insurance clerk and Dean was working as a police constable, and both were studying ballet. They would start training when their ice rink closed to thepublicat
The Nottingham Ice Stadium in1990
the public at 11pm, and continued until 3am. The rink even opened for them on Christmas Day so that they could keep to their training schedule. Under the watchful eye of coach, JanetSawbridge
Janet Sawbridge, they won their first competitions in 1976 in Sheffield and Bristol. Their intensive training certainly paid off, and three years after meeting, they won the British Championships in 1978. They then came 5th in the 1980 New York Winter Olympics.
After this success, the pair gave up their jobs to train full-time. Faced with no income, Nottingham City Council came to their rescue with a grant, which was highly criticised in some quarters. Torvill and Dean began to attract nationalmedia
national media attention, and in 1981 they acquired their own acting mentor, Michael Crawford. In that year, the duo won the EuropeanChampionships
Torvill & Dean skating thier Barnum routine
Michael Crawford in Barnum
European Championships and the World Championships for the first time. Crawford helped them win the world championships for the third time in 1983 with their circus-inspired ‘Barnum’ routine. By 1984 they had the World Championships for the fourth time.
With the support of their coach, Betty Calloway (1928-2011), their relentless drive for success ultimately
The start of the Bolero routine
Torvill & Dean skating Bolero in Sarajevo
Triumph in Sarajevo
ultimately paid off when, in the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo,they
Sarajevo, they became world famous for their free programme performance of Bolero, using Ravel’s famous orchestral music. 24 million people in the United Kingdom watched as all nine Olympic judges gave their steamy Bolero routine a perfect score of six. It had never been achieved before, or since. They'd won the gold medal in emphatic style!
Calloway, Torvill & Dean can't
believe their scores!
Jayne, Christopher and Betty Calloway interviewed after their success
Having turned professional, their success continued in various competitions and tours. They won the British Championships seven times and the European Championships four times. However, in the 1994 Olympics, their performances were marked down by the judges, prejudiced against professionals competing in the Olympics, and they returned with a bronze medal.
Over the years, Torvill & Dean developed a very large repertoire of different ice-dance routines. These have been used for competitions, ice shows, tours etc., and often feature music that has either been adapted from well known pieces, like 'Eleanor's Dream' based on the Beatle's song Eleanor Rigby, or specially written for them - as in the 1986 'Fire and Ice' routine, with an original score by Carl Davis. In 1998, they announced the end of their 23 year partnership, but in 2006 they became mentors for celebrity contestants on the ITV show Dancing on Ice. Between 2006 & 2014, they have continued to perform a number of new routines during each of the Dancing On Ice series.
Away from the skating limelight, each has their own personal life:
Torvill & Dean
Jayne Torvill married American sound engineer Phil Christiensen in 1990 and they have two adopted children Kieran (b.2002) & Jessica (b.2006).
Christopher Dean has been married twice. His first wife was fellow skater Isabelle Duchesnay, whom he married in 1991, but divorced two years later. Dean then married American figure skater Jill Trenary, with whom he had 2 children, Jack (b.1998) and Sam (b.2000). They separated in 2009 after 16 years of marriage.
Christopher Dean & Jill Trenary with Sam and Jack
Following their great success in Sarajevo, it was inevitable that, with the huge support of the British public, they would win the vote for the BBC's Sports Personality of the Year in 1984.
In 1981 they each received the MBE (Member of the British Empire), and in 2000 they received the OBE (Order of the British Empire).
Sports Personality of the Year award 1984
Jayne Torvill MBE & Christopher Dean MBE
Torvill & Dean are awarded the Freedom of the City of Nottingham
They were both granted the Freedom of the City of Nottingham
Nottingham at a ceremony at Nottingham's Council House on 28th April 1983 where they were presented with the awardbyConcillor PeterBurgess.
June 29th 2012 saw the Olympic Torch come to Nottingham where it was carried through the streets by Torvill & Dean, who later performed a one-off routine with the torch at Nottingham's National Ice Centre.
award by Councillor PeterBurgess.
Olympic Torch bearers Torvill & Dean
Nottingham is justifiably proud of the achievements of its skating heroes, and they have roads on a housing estate in Wollaton named in their honour. These include Jayne Close, Torvill Drive, Christopher Close, and CallowayClose
Calloway Close. There is now a Bolero Square outside Nottingham's National Ice Centre, built on the site of the old IceStadium
Ice Stadium where Torvill and Dean once spent long hours perfecting their skating routines. Nottingham has even named one of its trams after them!
Torvill & Dean with the
Olympic Torch on the ice
"Torvill & Dean"
NCT tram -
Jayne and Christopher have signed my book
Bolero - 1984 Winter Olympics (with judges scores)
Bolero - 1984 (higher quality recording)
Bolero - 1994 Lillehammer Olympics
Barnum - 1983 World Championships
Still Crazy - 1995 World Championships
Revolution/Imagine - 1990 World Championships
Fire & Ice - Torvill and Dean
Putting on the Ritz - Torvill and Dean
Mack and Mabel - 1992 World Championships