For such a long time, Ice Dancing was treated as the boring portion of the figure skating competition, due to the lack of jumps. Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean changed that with their graceful, complicated choreography and creativity, and of course “Bolero” was the most famous moment in their arc. I was in love with these two, and this routine; some of that is because they’re English, and in the UK, any sport with homegrown athletes who were real medal contenders got a WHOOOOOLE lot of attention, so we were all watching this with our breath held. When they skated it at the Olympics in Sarajevo, they scored perfect sixes across the board in both categories — a first — and Reader, I cried while watching this yesterday. It might not be as impressive as the aerialism skaters today can show in their routines, but it is what got them there, and there’s something really powerful about that music plus this performance plus knowing the history it’s going to make. They were still collecting the flowers from the ice when their marks came in; you can see their reaction at the end of this:
One of my favorite famous bits of trivia here: Their music guy couldn’t cut down a usable version of “Bolero” — which is 17 minutes — without running 18 seconds past what the skating rules allowed. So they got clever. Apparently, that clock starts ticking when their BLADES touch the ice, so Torvill and Dean spend the first 18 seconds on their knees. Her boots hit he ice at exactly the right moment to give them the legal maximum of skating time. Brilliant.
Also: Jayne recalled that Princess Anne was there to celebrate their gold medal, and they all drank Champagne out of plastic cups; and apparently (this tidbit is mostly for my mother) the actor/singer Michael Crawford was considered their fourth teammate for his coaching on the emotional gymnastics, and was there with them too when they won. My dad used to LOVE this quintessentially British comedy series in which Crawford starred — he played a lovable buffoon whom the rest of us secretly found very annoying — but he is most known now as a singer, and as the first person to play the Phantom. He also did Barnum, which involved him walking a tightrope in the theater, and that was SUCH a fun show; nobody has rebooted that, ever. (I don’t count The Greatest Showman because it’s not a reboot. It’s just the same topic.) I guess PT Barnum was a problematic douche, so maybe that’s why. ANYWAY. I enjoyed learning that Michael Crawford was there, and most of all, I love watching this skate one more time. Or four more times. Whichever.