‘This is not a normal competition’: Scottish ice dancer in silver medal position praises UK crowd in first ever home international competition

Scottish ice dancer Lewis Gibson and his partner Lilah Fear are set for a place in the Grand Prix finals in their first ever international competition to be held on home ice.

One Saltire could be seen in the crowd in Sheffield, in support of Prestwick skater Lewis Gibson and his partner Lilah Fear, who are currently lying in the silver medal position. Picture: Anna Kellar
One Saltire could be seen in the crowd in Sheffield, in support of Prestwick skater Lewis Gibson and his partner Lilah Fear, who are currently lying in the silver medal position. Picture: Anna Kellar

Gibson, from Prestwick and Fear, scored 85.37 in the rhythm dance at the John Wilson Trophy in Sheffield, less than one point behind Charlene Guignard and Marco Fabbri, from Italy, who scored 86.30.

The couple are four points clear of nearest rivals Marjorie Lajoie and Zachary Lagha, in third. If they win the silver medal after the free dance final on Sunday, they will qualify for a spot in the prestigious series final in Italy.

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The pair said the experience of skating in the UK, backed by a home crowd, mirrored that they had seen competitors and training mates enjoy when skating abroad. The crowd was packed with fans holding Union Jack flags – and even one Saltire.

Lewis Gibson and Lilah Fear are in the silver medal position. Pictured here with leaders Charlene Guignard and Marco Fabbri and Marjorie LaJoie and Zachary Lagha in third.
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Gibson said: "It was crazy stepping out there as the other couple were still coming off and people were really cheering already. I felt like, ‘this is not a normal competition’.”

Fear added: "We’re used to seeing that in other countries for their home teams, so the fact that it was for us was such a surprise.

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"It was so emotional and overwhelming in the best way. I think when we skated out to our warm up and there were all these Union Jacks, I’ve never seen so many before in one audience.”

The John Wilson Trophy is the first major competition to be held in the UK since the European Figure Skating Championships in 2012 – and the first ever Grand Prix series event to take place in Britain.

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It was assigned to the UK after competitions usually held in China and Russia were relocated due to the war in Ukraine and Covid travel restrictions respectively.

Fear said she hoped the UK would host another Grand Prix event soon. It is not known when or if China or Russia will be able to host the competitions again.

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She said: "It has been so well run and such a positive experience, I hope it happens again. “The girl in the locker room, after they’ve skated, have all told me that it’s been such a fun crowd, I said ‘that’s Brits for you’.”

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