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British skating legends Torvill and Dean back in Sarajevo 40 years since Olympics

By AFP - Feb 15,2024 - Last updated at Feb 15,2024

SARAJEVO — Forty years since their impeccable performance at the Sarajevo Olympics left the world breathless, British skating greats Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean on Wednesday returned to the Bosnian capital to mark the anniversary.

On February 14, 1984, the legendary figure skating pair had captivated 8,000 spectators at the Zetra sports hall, which was heavily shelled eight years later during the wartime siege of the city.

To the rousing music of Maurice Ravel’s “Bolero” they beautifully interpreted the eternal drama of impossible love.

“Since that time, we have scattered so many times around the world, performing Bolero and everybody comes up to us and says: ‘I remember where I was when I watched Bolero when you were performing in Sarajevo’,” Dean told a press conference.

Torvill and Dean became the first pair to receive top marks from all nine judges at the Olympics finals in Sarajevo.

Their performance, which saw the music chopped down from 15 minutes to just over four, had a major impact on both the history of figure skating and their lives.

The pair was welcomed by the Sarajevo Mayor Benjamina Karic before they will put on their skates later on Wednesday to take part in a show with young skaters.

“Today we are reviving only the most beautiful emotions, and we are truly honoured that our Torvill and Dean are in Sarajevo, in their Sarajevo, in their city,” Karic said.

The medal was won on Valentine’s Day and the two mark it in their own way.

“Jayne and I always say to each other: ‘Happy Bolero Day!’ ‘Cause that’s a day that we won the Olympics. And it was because of Bolero and that routine that has given us this longevity.”

Torvill, 66, said it would be nice to return to Sarajevo in 10 years.

“Let’s hope to celebrate, but we’re just happy that we can be here today on the actual day that we won the Olympics,” she said.

The two have known each other since childhood and in 2025 they will celebrate 50 years since they started skating together. In April they begin their ‘Farewell’ Tour as they bring down the curtain on an extraordinary career on the ice.

“And we’re still the very best of friends,” Dean said.

Torvill and Dean were four-time world champions and three-time European champions. They decided to turn professional after Sarajevo, putting a temporary end to their Olympic careers.

They returned to competition 10 years later in 1994, winning their fourth European Championship and the Olympic bronze in Lillehammer, Norway.

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