A dazzling skater, Jayne Torvill was one-half of the world's most famous and acclaimed ice dancing team. Born Oct. 7, 1957 in Nottingham, England, Jayne Torvill supported herself as an office worker while pursuing her passion for ice skating, winning the 1972 British Championships for pairs skating while partnered with Michael Hutchenson. Lightning struck when she was paired with fellow skater Christopher Dean, and the two became the greatest ice dancers in the history of the sport, revolutionizing the field with their innovative, audaciously crowd-pleasing routines frequently choreographed by Dean himself. Winning the British Championships seven times, the European Championships four times, and the World Championships four times, Torvill and Dean achieved global superstardom for their gold-medal Olympic victory in the 1984 Winter Games in Sarajevo, where their iconic performance of Ravel's "Boléro" earned them a slate of perfect 6.0 scores for artistic impression, the only time in history this feat had been accomplished. Although they earned a bronze medal at the 1994 Winter Olympics, they would go on to dominate the professional circuit, winning five World Professional Championships and starring on their own reality competition, "Dancing on Ice" (ITV, 2006- ). Although the world waited breathlessly for Torvill and Dean to turn their on-the-ice passion to real-life romance, Torvill instead married the pair's promoter, Phil Christensen, in 1990. Showered with honors, fame and national heroine status, Torvill remained a beloved icon and innovator of her sport.
By Jonathan Riggs