Lewis Gibson: 'Go for gold - always' says Scottish ice dancer and partner Lilah Fear on their Milan 2026 ambitions

Lewis Gibson and Lilah Fear are aiming for gold at the 2026 Milan Winter Olympics

Dressed in their iconic purple costumes and skating to Ravel’s Bolero, Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean’s 1984 Olympic win is still synonymous with British figure skating.

Now, 40 years later, Team GB has another chance of a Winter Olympic ice dance gold – yet few realise it.

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Lilah Fear and Lewis Gibson, from Prestwick, are ranked fourth in the world and are eyeing a place at the top of the podium in Milan in 2026.

Lilah Fear and Lewis Gibson compete their Rocky routine during the ISU World Figure Skating Championship in Montreal in March.Lilah Fear and Lewis Gibson compete their Rocky routine during the ISU World Figure Skating Championship in Montreal in March.
Lilah Fear and Lewis Gibson compete their Rocky routine during the ISU World Figure Skating Championship in Montreal in March.

"That's every child's dream, let alone two adults in the sport, with a trajectory that we're really proud of, and with a vision that we're committed to.

"With every season that goes by, it becomes more and more possible in our minds, because we prove to ourselves what we're capable of, how if we clear focus and determination and work, you can achieve things.”

This season, Ms Fear and Mr Gibson, who are six-times British national champions, won a silver medal in the European Figure Skating Championships and fourth place in the World Figure Skating Championships in March.

Yet, unlike in Torvill and Dean’s heyday, when 24 million people in the UK alone tuned in live to watch them take gold in Sarajevo, figure skating is now rarely shown on mainstream television.

The pair acknowledge that their experience is very different to that of their predecessors.

“We didn’t live in their time, to know how it felt or to see it," says Mr Gibson. “But everything is different in the way that people consume media.”

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Mr Gibson believes that with more media exposure – helped by the pair rising up the ranks in competition – Britain could rekindle its love of the sport. He started skating as an 11-year-old at Ayr Ice Rink after watching Dancing on Ice on TV.

“I really think the fans are there,” he says. “Dancing on Ice shows there’s a fan base, it is really successful every single year and it helps to keep Jayne and Chris in many people's minds. Ultimately, everyone knows what they achieved and I think for Lilah and I, that's such a huge goal to be able to achieve something so great in skating for ourselves.

“We've got ourselves to the top. Now it’s a case of pushing that out there and hope that people can also fall in love with what we're doing as well."

Other figure skaters have embraced social media to raise their profile. Many post regularly on platforms such as Instagram and TikTok: not just about their skating, but about their fashion choices, their favourite restaurants and their holiday destinations.

While Ms Fear and Mr Gibson have social media accounts, they are not as active as some of their contemporaries.

“It's great. But I don't know how they have time,” says Ms Fear, who is studying a psychology degree alongside skating.

"I think there's definitely the pressure there and if you put the time into cultivating an online community, there's so many benefits to that.

"But I can’t do everything and right now social media is not the priority. I have to flip the lens and think about what I would be promoting and the answer is my skating. And sometimes social media might take away from that.”

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The pair also tries to avoid the effects of negative social media attention. The team’s strength has been finding music which entertains, this season opting for a programme set to music from film Rocky, complete with boxing-themed costumes. Although the routine has been popular with most fans, it attracted some criticism when it was first performed at a qualifying event for the British Figure Skating Championships last year.

"I literally don’t even look,” says Ms Fear. “It doesn't change what we do on the ice or in our lives and it's just a case of ‘OK, hopefully they'll get on board’, but I can't control someone's opinion.”

Mr Gibson adds: “People have opinions, it’s just that these days, we get to see them. Would people come up to us and say that in person? Absolutely not."

While the free dance competition gives couples the chance to choose their own music and style within parameters of required elements, the rhythm dance programme has a specific theme or dance tempo set each year by the International Skating Union (ISU).

Although in the past that would have been confined to a traditional set dance pattern such as a “golden waltz”, in recent years, the rules have relaxed, playing to the British pair’s strengths.

The ISU recently announced themes for the 2025 and 2026 seasons as “social dances and styles of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s” and “high energy and pop culture” dance from the 21st century respectively.

"It seems they want entertainment and we love to do that, so we’re excited,” says Mr Gibson.

Ms Fear adds: “They're targeting a larger and younger audience in this way - because it's more commercial – and it's strategic of them to do that.

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“There are a lot of fans who feel it's changing for the worse, but there's others they could grab on to and hopefully inspire to start a sport that will feel modern and not archaic.”

The World Figure Skating Championships marked the end of the 2024 season. The pair has already begun trying out ideas for next season’s programmes – which are currently kept tightly under wraps.

"There's always the thought of, ‘how will we top this?’,” says Ms Fear, of the Rocky programme. “But we say that every year and ultimately, it's the realisation that it's us doing whatever we skate to.

"It's exciting to know that there's two more seasons to the Olympics and the growth that we can have within that time.”



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