Torvill and Dean call on Olympics to allow same-sex figure skating partners: ‘It’s the next step’

Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean attend The BRIT Awards 2022

Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean have said that same-sex couples are the “next step” for Olympic figure skating.

Ice dancers Torvill and Dean famously won a gold medal for the UK in the 1984 Sarajevo Winter Olympics, and have sat on the Dancing on Ice judging panel since 2018.

The ice skating competition has so far featured two same-sex partnerships, beginning with Steps singer Ian ‘H’ Watkins who teamed up with Dancing on Ice skater Matt Evers in 2020. This series, Brendan Cole ended up in a same-sex partnership with Brendyn Hatfield in week six, when his partner Vanessa Bauer had to self-isolate.

Speaking to The Sun, Torvill and Dean pondered whether the same-sex ice dancing on the show could inspire progress in the professional skating world, and maybe even at the Olympics.

“Well, if it’s on Dancing on Ice, yes, anything is possible,” Torvill said.

Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean compete in the Ice Dancing competition at the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo

Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean compete in the Ice Dancing competition at the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo. (Getty/ David Madison)

Dean added: “Who’s to say in a few years time that could change because there’s actually a shortage of male figure skaters.

“So you might have to have same-sex female skaters skating together.

“All organisations are now open to diversity and inclusion. So, yes that’s the next step.

“But it always comes down to how people are thinking and accepting at the moment.”

Torvill and Dean recalled Cole and Hatfield’s same-sex performance, a Jersey Boys-themed routine to “Beggin'”, which won them the series’ first perfect 10.

“I think those two, the way it was choreographed, it was just like two male skaters out there, like the Four Seasons putting on the dance,” said Dean.

“I think it was representative of that music and that idea.”

The finale of Dancing on Ice’s 14th series on 27 March will see the three remaining competitors – Cole, Kimberly Wyatt, Regan Gascoigne – perform two routines, including Torvill and Dean’s famous “Bolero”.