(1957– ) and
British skaters who dominated world ice dancing from 1981 to 1984 as British, European, world, and Olympic champions.
Both born in Nottingham, they each won competitions with other partners before teaming up. Torvill won the British junior pairs championship in 1970 aged thirteen and her first senior pairs a year later. Dean won his first national title in 1972. They came together in 1975 and started to win international competitions in 1976. Two years later Betty Callaway became their trainer and Torvill and Dean won their first British championship and scored their first 6.0, the maximum a single judge can award. They retained this title for seven years.
From 1978 to 1981, they progressed in the European championships from ninth to first and in the world championships from eleventh to first. In 1983 Torvill and Dean introduced their circus-inspired ‘Barnum’ routine, perhaps the most creative and exciting routine ever seen on ice. It was a difficult act to follow but they succeeded in 1984 with ‘Bolero’, which delighted the millions who watched them on television around the world. Torvill and Dean scored more 6.0s than any couple in history. In 1984 they added the Olympic gold medal to their titles and achieved the seemingly impossible: all nine judges gave them 6.0 to make the perfect score. They subsequently retired in order to skate professionally, performing in their own ice shows and becoming world professional champions in 1984, 1985, 1990, 1995, and 1996. In 1994 they made a much-heralded return to the Winter Olympics but only took the bronze medal, a disappointment that led them to return to professional skating. Torvill and Dean published Face the Music in 1995.
Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).