Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean: perfection on ice

At the 1984 Olympic Winter Games in Sarajevo, British ice dancers Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean turned in a flawless performance that earned them perfect marks for artistic impression and a stunning gold medal.

Picture by 2016 Getty Images

Competing at the Olympic Winter Games in Sarajevo in 1984, Great Britain’s Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean produced a sparkling display in their free programme, watched by 8,500 fortunate spectators at the Zetra Olympic Ice Hall and a TV audience that included 24 million spellbound viewers back home in the UK. Performing to Maurice Ravel’s Bolero, the two ice dancers from the city of Nottingham did not put a foot wrong. 

At the end of their remarkable routine the duo were showered with flowers by the rapt audience. Turning to look at the screen, the pair saw a row of perfect 6s, a record score that will never be repeated following the changes made to the judging system in the 2000s.

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Achieving excellence was nothing new for Torvill and Dean, who left an indelible mark on figure skating during their amateur career. World and European champions four times in a row between 1981 and 1984, they turned professional following their Sarajevo triumph and took part in a number of world tours.

After ten years of shows on ice, the legendary duo made a dramatic return to the Winter Games at Lillehammer 1994, where they came away with a bronze behind the Russian pairs Maya Usova and Alexander Zhulin, and Oksana Grishuk and Evgeni Platov, who won silver and gold respectively.  

In our exclusive video Torvill and Dean reflect on their momentous victory in Sarajevo. Explaining what goes through the mind of champions when victory is at stake in a three-minute routine on ice, they speak of the intense concentration they needed, explaining how they entered “the zone” during the competition.


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