Olympic champions’ symbolic return to a divided city

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Thirty years have gone by since Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean’s gold medal-winning performance in the Zetra Ice Hall in Sarajevo in the 1984 Winter Olympic Games – and its legacy has shown no sign of defrosting over time.

Torvill and Dean’s perfect routine, executed to the swirling majesty of Ravel’s Bolero, remains one of the seminal routines in the sport’s history.It was a performance which captured the hearts of 24 million Britons watching on television. It was one of those rare sporting moments to envelop a nation. It is a moment which can truly be said to have transcended sport, as the architects of such mastery prepare to make a symbolic return to the scene of their triumph for only the second time.

The Zetra Ice Hall is now known as the Olympic Hall Juan Antonio Samaranch, having been destroyed in the war of the early 1990s. Dean recalled his only previous visit, shortly after the end of the war. “I’d never been to a war zone before and to see miles and miles of streets and houses blown apart was really quite shocking.”

The circumstances of the invitation for them to return twere deliberately symbolic: the invitation was issued by both the east and west mayors of this still-divided city.

“It’s about regeneration, and trying to foster a spirit to encourage optimism there again,” said Dean. “We have always felt very close to the city because of what happened there, are we are honoured to be able to do our tiny bit to help.”

“Standing in the same place where we stood all those years ago will feel strange and sensational,” said Torvill. “The thing I still remember more than anything is kneeling down to start the routine, and the way the crowd went silent.

“Doing it all over again, all these years later, is going to be special.”