Jayne Torvill's poignant vow after horror injury during Dancing on Ice practice



It has gone 9.30am, but Jayne Torvill hasn’t managed to get dressed yet and so apologises for keeping her Zoom camera firmly off. “It takes a long time when you only have one arm,” she explains, laughing with characteristic Torvill cheerfulness.

For the past couple of weekends, the skating star has appeared on the judging panel of ITV ’s Dancing on Ice in a sling studded in sequins to match her frock.

“We call it the bling sling!” her skating partner of 50 years, Chris Dean, interrupts from his own camera.

A couple of weeks ago, 65-year-old Jayne ruptured a bicep tendon skating with Chris as they practised a routine to be aired during this weekend’s final, an eagerly anticipated highlight the Olympians provide each series.

Sadly, they can’t go ahead now, for the first time in the show’s 15-series history.

Today they also reveal a narrow escape from a double whammy Torvill and Dean wipeout – because Jayne’s rupture caused them to suffer a pretty frightening fall together, too.

Jayne Torvill injured her arm while practising with dance partner Chris Dean
Jayne Torvill injured her arm while practising with dance partner Chris Dean ( Matt Frost/ITV/REX/Shutterstock)

Jayne explains: “I had kind of tweaked my arm the day before it happened and just felt a bit sore, you get these odd pulls and strains and work through them.

“We were doing a lift that was part of our routine, and I said to Chris ‘Maybe we won’t do this today, this might pull on the tendon,’ and he said OK, and then I said ‘No, it’ll be fine, let’s just do it’ – and I felt it ping, it pinged like an elastic band and it was extremely painful.”

Chris, 64, continues: “Jayne came out of the lift in an awkward fashion, and I couldn’t help her, so we ended up crashing down into the edge of the ice rink, it was quite a dramatic exit. As you get older, falls hurt more, that’s for sure.”

Thankfully, the fall caused no further injuries, and the one other person in the rink with them was a medic.

Jayne received treatment and a week ago had surgery to reattach the tendon, which entailed inserting a small piece of metal into her arm.

Noticing my face twist in horror, Chris interjects: “It’s not the end of us yet!”

They assure me Jayne will skate again, she’s just not sure when.

For now, she can’t even physically put her skates on, and certainly isn’t allowed to.

“I don’t think I have ever had an injury that’s stopped me doing what we were meant to be doing before,” she admits.

“We were three days from recording this routine, we had been working on it for weeks and weeks, we were more than ready to perform it.

“It’s like something being snatched away from you in the last second.”

Torvill and Dean stunned the sporting world with their iconic 'Bolero' routine
Torvill and Dean stunned the sporting world with their iconic 'Bolero' routine ( Popperfoto/Getty Images)

Tantalisingly, they reveal it would have been skated to Lady Gaga’s Oscar-nominated Hold My Hand, which appears in the new Top Gun movie.

“We are hopeful it will see the light of day next season,” says Jayne.

They’re a pragmatic pair, with all the steely resolve you’d expect from sporting champions. But sometimes they reveal a chink of sentimentality and emotion.

Like when I ask about their famous Bolero routine, which won them Olympic gold in 1984 in Sarajevo, 40 years ago next year.

Each year the celebrities do a version of it in the Dancing on Ice final, with the same memorable beginning, lying on the ice. “We send each other Bolero day messages, Happy Bolero Day,” Chris admits of the anniversary of their Olympic performance every February.

And next year, might they perform it again to mark the big 40?

It seems Jayne’s bicep won’t be the thing to stop them.

“You never know, there might be some version of it,” says Chris. “We will sit down and talk with ITV, 40 years on is a milestone, we would be silly to miss that.

“It may be the last time!”

Although their own performance will be sadly missed this weekend, they have continued to put in the hours coaching and choreographing the celebrities and their professional partners for the final – although Jayne has had to call out direction from the sidelines.

Finalists, TV stars Joey Essex and The Vivienne, and former Olympic gymnast Nile Wilson, have received around eight hours of support each from the pair, Chris describes, explaining he and Jayne step in ahead of the final because the outcome then is the audience’s to determine with a public vote, and not down to judges’ scores.

“It’s a full week,” he admits. Of the routines he will only say: “One is drama, one is emotional and one is tongue in cheek, a little bit funny. They are all looking completely different.”

Torvill and Dean won gold at 1984 Winter Olympics with their 'Bolero' routine
Torvill and Dean scooped gold at the 1984 Winter Olympics with their 'Bolero' routine ( Getty Images)

Jayne adds: “It’s actually nice to work with the celebs, you don’t really have a lot of interaction with them, so you get an idea of their determination and work ethic. They all really want this.”

Reflecting on their routines, they say they are all very different personalities, too.

“Nile has that athletic mentality of let’s do it, head down, perseverance,” says Chris. “The Vivienne is just smiling the whole time, loving the experience. And Joey has this naivety like a little boy who wants to please everybody and everyone around him wants to mother him!”

There was some disagreement from fans when Mollie Gallagher and Siva Kaneswaran were voted off last weekend, but Jayne and Chris defend their scoring. “They all got great marks - the skaters that went out, those were their top marks for the series. You can’t please all the people all the time,” says Chris.

But they admit Siva’s routine was especially emotional, performed in memory of his The Wanted bandmate Tom Parker, who died aged 33 after a diagnosis of terminal brain cancer. Chris was seen in tears after the skate.

“Jayne is the stone heart, I’m the emotional one,” he jokes. “Twenty years ago it wouldn’t have got to me, age softens you and mellows you.”

It is a strange thing, they muse, that Dancing on Ice launched in 2006, not far off 20 years ago.

“We skated together from 15 and won our Olympics aged 25, it was a 10-year period,” reflects Chris.

“We have been doing Dancing on Ice longer than we competed together, so this has been a huge part of our lives.

“We acknowledge this has been the biggest part of our skating career. We would never have known we would still be strapping skates on at 65.”

And beyond – because it sounds like a ruptured bicep and a dramatic fall has done nothing to dampen their future plans.

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