Torvill and Dean unveil plans for Sheffield to be national centre to train future champion skaters
Skating stars Torvill and Dean visited Sheffield to announce the exciting news that iceSheffield will become a national centre of excellence to help the next generation of British ice dancers to become champions.
Former Olympic ice dance gold medallists and Dancing on Ice stars Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean are backing the programme and will act as mentors to help young skaters realise their potential on and off the ice.
Christopher said: “I absolutely think it will come down to funding to get this off the ground. Everything needs money to create the structure. We went to be involved in mentoring and as figureheads - since Sport England and Sport UK see that we’re behind it, they will be encouraged to finance it.
“We want to bring in other professionals in the areas a skater needs – nutrition, strength and conditioning and training and psychology. You don’t just train up by putting on skates and skating for a couple of hours a day – it’s a full-time occupation at an early age to develop young skaters.
"You give them the knowledge and strength and also to create their own identity to be future champions.”
Jayne explained that iceSheffield is the perfect place: “It’s got two rinks and the English Institute of Sport. Other places don’t have those facilities.”
She said it was very different when they were coming up in the sport: “We received a grant from Nottingham council that enabled us to do most of our training in Germany. It had a facility that had three rinks and the whole thing was geared around competitive skating rather than public ice sessions.”
The couple hope that Sheffield youngsters will step forward – the key age is six to nine but ice dancers can also start a little later.
Christopher said: “If you can get hold of somebody before they’ve even been on the ice, you can mould them as opposed to older skaters who are already established. It’s like teaching somebody to drive correctly.”
The couple, who always use MK skates made from Sheffield steel, said they will also be busy with the new series of Dancing on Ice from September, ready to start in January.