See Ice Dancers Torvill & Dean Now, 38 Years After They Won Gold
The English skating team still speak to each other every day.
There are five different figure skating events in the Winter Olympics: men's, women's, pairs, team, and ice dancing. And they each have their stars and legends. In the world of ice dancing, few pairs are more well-respected than Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean. Kicking off their professional skating partnership in the mid '70s, the ice dancers scored a gold medal for Great Britain at the Sarajevo in 1984, stunning judges and fans with their "Boléro" free skate and earning perfect 6.0s across the board. Torvill and Dean also won multiple gold medals at World and European skating championships, made an Olympic return after they retired from amateur competition, and even embarked on their own tour.
It's been decades since Torvill and Dean competed professionally, but they're still very much in the public eye. Here's what they're doing now, nearly 40 years after winning that gold medal.
They initially retired soon after winning Olympic gold.
Torvill and Dean went pro, meaning that they took themselves out of amateur competition, right after the 1984 World Championships. This enabled them to earn money from performing, which they did in international touring shows and in the 1986 TV special, Fire and Ice.
However, they decided to make an Olympic comeback for the 1994 Games in Lillehammer, Norway. The pair placed third but were so disappointed by the judging that they made the recall to retire from competition again—this time for good.
"We couldn't skate any better than we skated," Dean said in a statement at the time, via The New York Times. "It was one of those memorable performances. We were disillusioned a little bit about how it happened but we were elated by the reaction. The audience were our judges."
They continued to tour and perform together regularly until 1998. And in 2014, they were invited to Sarajevo to do their "Boléro" one more time—in honor of the 30th anniversary of their Olympic success.
They reunited for the reality competition show Dancing on Ice.
After retiring, both skaters stayed involved in the sport through coaching, choreography, and other ventures. Then another opportunity presented itself.
Since 2006, Torvill and Dean have been involved with Dancing on Ice, in which celebrities are paired with professional skaters and compete each week, similar to Dancing With the Stars. Originally, they were mentors and creative directors; since the series was revived in 2018 after a brief hiatus, they've been the competition's head judges. They've also performed at live Dancing on Ice touring shows.
"We've tried to give up. In 1998, we decided to retire quietly—and then we got this phone call out of the blue eight years later asking about Dancing on Ice and would we be able to teach celebrities to skate," Torvill recalled to The Daily Record in 2018. "That opened a whole new decade of us getting back on the ice and performing again and touring."
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They inspired a movie about their career.
In 2018, a British TV movie starring Will Tudor as Dean and Poppy Lee Friar as Torvill premiered. Torvill & Dean, which documents the iconic ice dancing team's early career, was made with the blessing of both skaters.
"When this drama about us was suggested, we sat down together and talked to Billy Ivory, who wrote the screenplay," Dean told Radio Times. "He's got such a feel for events and how everything came together. I'll definitely be watching it this Christmas. At the time you just think, 'Done that, let go', but when you sit down and think about it now, it's really emotional looking back to the glory days."
To this day, they're still good friends.
Though many fans have assumed over the years that Torvill and Dean are or were a couple, they've always been just friends—though Torvill did admit that they kissed once when they were younger.
"We were in the back of the bus going to a league match, and it just happened. It was a one-off. We never talked about it afterwards. We laugh about it now," she told RadioTimes.
Today, Torvill is 64 years old and has been married to Phil Christensen since 1990, and they share two children, Kieran and Jessica. Dean, who is 63, has been married and divorced twice and has been with current partner Karen Barber for more than 10 years. He has two children with ex-wife Jill Trenary, Sam and Jack.
Throughout the ups and downs of their lives, the bond between the skaters has been a constant. "If we're not together physically, Chris and I speak pretty much every day to check in. We talk about everything," Torvill told The Daily Record.