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Gold perfection: February 14 1984 ~ when Torvill and Dean skated into immortality

February 14, 2014

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Red hot on the ice: they mayn’t have been a couple for years but Torvill and Dean’s sublime performance to Ravel’s Boléro made-up a (semi-) loved-up Blighty on Valentine’s Day 1984

Ah, Valentine’s Day, eh? We all know the drill, don’t we – romantic dinners out, rose petals, cherubs and cardboard-mounted declarations of love (conveniently phrased by greeting cards’ copywriters). But 30 years ago today, the drill was very different for Blighty’s – and the world’s – leading ice skating pair, Nottingham’s Jane Torvill and Christopher Dean, the biggest thing to have come out of that most provincial of cities since Robin Hood.

For today promised to be their day of destiny; the day they performed their best – maybe anyone’s best – ice skating routine ever witnessed; the day they’d burn up the ice, whup the opposition into a pulp and bring home the gold; the day their remarkable careers would reach its dizzying zenith. And, yes, peeps, they only went and did it – did it with bells on, in fact; or rather with that hypnotic Boléro-ific drumbeat on. For this was the day ice skating was changed forever with their passionate, intoxicating, beautiful and unforgettable routine; the day Torvill and Dean became as famous as Cupid himself.

So, here it is, George’s Journal‘s image-, quote- and (at its end) video clip-packing celebration of the 30th anniversary of Torvill and Dean’s glorious triumph at the 1984 Sarajevo Winter Olympics. Get those ‘sixes’ ready, folks, because here we go…

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“Tonight we reached the pinnacle. I don’t remember the performance at all. It just happened. But I think it was the most emotional performance we have ever given. What just happened out there – getting the medals – that is what we’ve worked for so hard for so long” ~ Christopher Dean

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GBR FIGURE TORVILL & DEAN

Great skate: following the performance, the scoreboard makes it official – Torvill and Dean’s incredible routine has made history by scoring an utterly unprecedented perfect six score for ‘artistic impression’ from all nine judges; their winning the gold medal is now a formality 

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“I just don’t believe it. I don’t think we’ll get to bed tonight at all. I just want to say hello and thank the people of Nottingham” ~ Jane Torvill

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Royal encounter: Torvill and Dean and their coach Bettie Callaway (centre) meet Princess Anne around midnight, hours after their performance – they’d been up since around 5am in order to get a private practice session in; at home, 24 million Brits have watched them win the gold

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“Nowadays, with the rules of the competition, it’s quite a technical thing rather than a creative thing. The skaters have to include certain types of lifts, certain types of steps – none of which are contained in Boléro. So I don’t know how it would go down – we’d probably be breaking the rules” ~ Jane Torvill (radiotimes.com, February 11 2014)

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elton_john_presenting_torvill_and_dean_with_the_1984_bbc_sports_personality_of_the_year_award

Not so tiny ice dancers: Elton John’s presenting them with the BBC’s 1984 Sports Personality of the Year award in December confirmed that Torvill and Dean had become British superstars; by now they’d already ‘gone professional’ – they would dominate international professional competition for the next 10 years before returning to the Olympics and winning a bronze 

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“In my heart, Torvill and Dean will always still be above everyone” ~  Evgeny Platov, the Russian skater whom with partner Oksana Grishuk beat the Brits to gold at the Lillehammer 1994 Winter Games (radiotimes.com, February 11 2014)

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Further reading/ viewing:

torvillanddean.com

Torvill And Dean: The Perfect Day documentary on the BBC iPlayer

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