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How Torvill and Dean still continue to inspire the nation and turn Dancing On Ice celebrities into genuine sports stars is remarkable

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BY JOHN GUBBA

When showbusiness, entertainment and sport morph into one and produce a spectacular show as brilliant as last night’s extraordinary Dancing on Ice Final it is absolutely breathtaking.

It is 28 years since I sat mesmerised along with the rest of the world and watched Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean deliver their flawless interpretation of Bolero in an intoxicating Olympic Gold medal winning display of pure genius that was quite simply poetry in motion.

For the Nottingham duo to keep that love affair with ice skating alive three decades later and inspire the nation with a blockbuster show on ITV that is one of the most popular programmes on British television is another extraordinary feat.

Perfection: Torvill and Dean's Bolero at 1984 Winter Olympics

Perfection: Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean's Bolero at 1984 Winter Olympics won the Gold Medal and inspired Britain to fall in love with ice skating

Never has the sport been more popular. And its popularity will surely grow even more after watching celebrities Matthew Wolfenden, Jorgi Porter and Chico Slimani each hit the heights of perfection during an absorbing contest that had all the drama of any major sporting occasion.

It was no exaggeration when judge Katarina Witt, the former Olympic champion from Germany, told winner Wolfenden after he danced the Balero with Nina Ulanova: “I just can not imagine what kind of a world class skater you would have become if you had started (ice skating) as a boy.”

The Emmerdale star was out of this world. But so too were Hollyoaks beauty Jorgi Porter, the runner up with Matt Evers, and X Factor singer Chico Slimani, the superfit 40 year-old who bounced back with three perfect 10s after dropping his partner Jodeyne Higgins in his opening routine. All three skaters delivered one flawless performance that scored 30 and the standard of every single ice dance was so extraordinary it was easy to forget these are celebrities who were all ice skating beginners six months ago.

You can say what you like about Dancing On Ice being nothing more than a popularity contest. This was ice skating of the highest calibre and a sporting duel that truly pushed the finalists to the heights of a competition professionals would have been proud of.

FOOTNOTE: It is criminal that ice rinks like Slough – one of the practice venues for Dancing On Ice celebrities – deny the public the chance to emulate our ice skating heroes by restricting time on the ice to just one night a week. Monday is the only day of the week when you can skate after 6pm at Slough. Absolutely Ice, the owners, should be ashamed of themselves for such a pathetic contribution to the sport that Torvill and Dean made into a Great British love affair.

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