Torvill and Dean’s brilliant Bolero fires figure skater Gibson into big Olympic moment

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Torvill and Dean kicked off the meteoric rise of Scottish skater Lewis Gibson from a humble footballing past at Prestwick to the Winter Olympics.

Gibson, 27, and his dance partner Lilah Fear, 22, were among the first athletes from the British team selected for the showpiece which will take place in Beijing in less than ten days, where they will compete in the event ice dancing.

The Scot was a relative latecomer to the sport and admits seeing the legendary British duo – who won stunning gold medals dancing to Bolero at Sarajevo 1984 – on Dancing On Ice is what first set fire to his skating.

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Gibson, whose journey to the Games has been fueled by a £40,000 injection of figure skating funding through UK Sport’s Beijing Support Fund, said: “I started skating after watching the first season of Dancing on Ice, with the amazing Torvill and Dean.

“I just thought it looked fun. I’ve always played football before, so it was a very different sport to try.

“I went to my local rink and loved it so much. Honestly, I never quit, never questioned the quitting either.

“To be here now and go to the Olympics that Torvill and Dean were so famous for is insane.

“Of course, growing up, you get called names. There are a lot of names, but for me what was really great was when the competitions and things were going well, you were in the newspaper. ‘school.

“I was seen doing something competitive and doing it well, so that helped me.”

In October last year, UK Sport announced a new stream of investment for winter sports not currently receiving funding from the World Class Program to improve their preparations and performance at the Olympic Games. winter.

Gibson has benefited from UK Sport funding, but Beijing will not be his first experience of big stage lights, after he and Fear traveled to PyeongChang in 2018 as part of Team GB’s Ambition programme.

Gibson sees it as a huge learning experience – but is being cool about how the Games could look amid potential restrictions and limited crowds after a recent fifth-place finish at the European Championships in Estonia.

“To go out there and be able to experience the Olympics without the stress of competition was really one of the greatest opportunities we could have asked for,” added Gibson, whose sport is one of seven to benefit from the Fund. support from Beijing. UK Sport embarks on its mission to create the greatest decade of extraordinary sporting moments and to reach, unite and inspire the nation.

There are a lot of different parties floating around as to how it looks and we don’t know, but luckily for us we’ve been in a few bubble competitions so we’ve had that experience before and I’m thankful for that.

“It’s not always easy, but at least we had at least some form of training for it.

“We both like to compete and play in front of people. Whether there’s a crowd or not, we don’t know, but it’s something that really motivates us and we appreciate it.

“Just getting to the Olympics for us is a huge achievement and we go into every competition just wanting to grow and always improve all our performances that we do, also master what we do every season and then see where that takes us. leads..â€??

UK Sport has the ambition to become an ever growing force in winter sports. The Beijing Support Fund, which uses Government and National Lottery investment, demonstrates UK Sport’s commitment to a wider group of high performance community sports, athletes and teams as part of its mission to create the greatest decade of extraordinary sporting moments; reach, inspire and unite the nation. For more information visit www.uksport.gov.uk

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