Ice dancers Torvill and Dean return to Sarajevo on 40th anniversary of their Winter Olympic gold


SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina — British ice dancers Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean received a warm welcome as they returned to Sarajevo to mark the 40th anniversary of their gold medal-winning Winter Olympic performance.

Torvill and Dean are due to skate together Wednesday evening at an event celebrating the legacy of the 1984 Olympics. The anniversary is “such a special occasion,” Torvill said. The pair have called on spectators to wear purple, the color of the costumes they wore in 1984.

Shortly before their appearance in Sarajevo, Torvill and Dean told Britain’s PA news agency that they will retire from performing together next year in shows after a final British tour.

“Sarajevo has been so much part of our life,” Dean said. “Who would have thought 40 years ago we will be back here today celebrating that event 40 years ago but with such wonderful memories and the spirit of the Olympics and the warmth of all the people. And we are feeling that again today, 40 years on.”

Their performance will open a figure skating competition being held to mark the anniversary. It’s taking place at the rink which hosted ice hockey at the Olympics.

Skating to Ravel’s “Bolero,” Torvill and Dean won the gold medal in 1984 with a romantic and expressive routine which ended with them lying down on the ice in a dramatic finishing pose. The British pair had broken new ground in ice dance by moving away from the sport’s origins in ballroom dancing and the ballet-influenced style of the then-dominant Soviet Union.

They won with a record-breaking 12 perfect 6.0 scores from the judges, including perfect scores across the board from all nine judges in artistic impression.

“Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone. Jayne and I always say to each other, ‘Happy Bolero Day,’ because that is our day that we won the Olympics and it was because of ‘Bolero’ and that routine that has given us this longevity,” Dean said Wednesday.

“Since that time we have skated so many times around the world performing ‘Bolero’ and everybody comes up to us and say ‘I remember where I was when I watched Bolero when you were performing in Sarajevo,’ so we’re always going to be linked with our skating in Sarajevo.”

They were the first pair not from the Soviet Union to win Olympic gold in ice dance. After a break from competitive ice dancing, then a strictly amateur sport, to pursue professional skating careers, Torvill and Dean also won bronze at the 1994 Olympics in Lillehammer.


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