Three decades on from their famous Bolero routine, Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean last night returned to the scene of their triumph.
The veteran British figure skaters marked the anniversary by once again performing the dance in the Bosnian city where they clinched gold at the 1984 Winter Olympics.
Describing Sarajevo’s Olympic Hall as “hallowed ground”, the duo said they were “honoured and humbled” to revisit the rink to skate to Maurice Ravel’s orchestral piece.
The Nottingham pair were also reunited with the young girl who gathered the flowers from the ice prior to their performance. That hypnotic routine on Valentine’s Day 30 years ago saw Dean, a police constable, and Torvill, an insurance clerk, become household names.
Their performance, carried out in a swirl of purple silk chiffon, earned them a row of perfect sixes for artistic impression from the sport’s notoriously demanding judges – a feat never achieved either before or since.
Reflecting on those four minutes and 28 seconds, Dean, 55, said the dance altered the trajectory of their lives forever.
He said: “We are so honoured and humbled to be invited back to Sarajevo to celebrate our 30th year since the Olympics and to be able to come back to the place where our lives changed.
“We owe a huge thank you to Sarajevo for our success here and for being able to come back and skate here again on what, for us, is hallowed ground. It always will be and it will always have a place in our hearts.
“Thirty years ago when we won the gold medal, we never imagined what would happen to us. You don’t realise how a certain day in your life can impact on the rest of your life.
“That day changed our lives forever and will always be in our hearts and our memories, not just for that day but for the life it gave us.
“We had a very short, limited time after the Olympics and thought we would maybe skate for two or three years and do something different.
“But 30 years on, we’re still here and still doing Bolero. It’s been an amazing ride.”
Torvill, 56, agreed: “It was special to us at the time and it was great for the city of Sarajevo to have the Olympics here, and we hope this event brings that feeling back.”
The duo were invited back to the city by the mayors of Sarajevo and East Sarajevo. In the lead-up to their routine before a capacity crowd of 5,000, the skaters expressed an affinity with the Bosnian people.
The scene of their famous victory – the Olympic Hall Zetra – was destroyed in the 1990s Balkan conflict, but was rebuilt in 1999 and renamed Olympic Hall Juan Antonio Samaranch in honour of the former International Olympic Committee president.
During their return, Dean and Torvill again met Elma Krasny, who, at the age of six, collected the flowers from the rink in 1984.
It was, Dean admitted, “a very emotional moment”. He explained: “She was here with her daughter, [who is of] the generation which [has] gone through some difficult, tragic times, and yet now they are so hopeful and joyous of today. That really brought it home for us.”
After watching the skaters go through their rehearsals, an emotional Ms Krasny was left in no doubt that the famous duo had lost none of their magic.
“I watched them dancing Bolero this morning and my heart stopped,” she said.
“They are masters of the ice. This city needs something as positive and beautiful as this event is.”