How we met: Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean

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The Independent Online

Jayne Torvill, 50, was a national ice-skating pairs champion at the age of 14, before teaming up with Christopher Dean to win Gold at the 1984 Winter Olympics with maximum points. The duo also won British, European and World Championship medals. Torvill lives with her husband, son and daughter in Sussex.

Before I met Christopher, I had a dance partner called Michael, but he got the bug to move to London. I skated on my own for a year before I got together with Chris. His partner had also gone to London, and his coach thought we would make a good pair.

I already knew who Chris was, as we skated at the same rink. He was pretty quiet and shy; he would say hello but not a lot else. I thought he was very good-looking when we first met; I used to call him the blond prince. I was about 15 when we were introduced as potential partners; I was getting too old to carry on as a single figure-skater and was keen to have a partner again. I thought it would be fun.

I think Chris was a bit reluctant to skate with me at first because I had been skating without a partner for so long – I don't think he thought we'd be an ideal match, but he was willing to give it a try.

It was a big secret that we were going to try to skate as a pair. Our first time together, we went to the rink very early, at about 6am. There was no one else on the ice and it was freezing cold.

Winning at the 1984 Olympics was a really big thing. A friend of mine said to me the other day, "I don't think you realise that if you'd have done that today you'd be almost like Posh and Becks – you wouldn't be able to go anywhere."

The most attention we got, which we found really freaky, was when we would land at some airport and there would be a group of photographers waiting and we would ask each other, "Who are they waiting for?" and it would be us. There was a lot of speculation as to whether Chris and I were going to get married, so they weren't just interested in the skating.

I value Chris' drive and enthusiasm. He always has an idea for something, even though it might be crazy. Sometimes he'll have an idea for a routine and I'll think "Nuts," but then we figure it all out.

We've had arguments but we've become so entwined that I'd never say " We're not doing this any more." When we retired in 1998, he went to America and I didn't see him much, though we always talked on the phone. If it hadn't been for Dancing On Ice, it really would have been the end. It's been amazing to work together again. It's all so familiar and really wonderful for it to have been so successful.

Christopher Dean, 49, has been ice-skating since 1972. Two years later he joined the police force but then went back to skating with Torvill. He is married to the American skater Jill Trenary; they live in Colorado with their two sons.

We were so young when we met – just kids. Jayne was pretty quiet, but she was the queen of the ice rink, because she was a national champion at 14, which is young.

She wasn't very outgoing, but had the work ethic – not that I was thinking about any of that; I was just thinking that I needed a partner. We got together one Thursday morning at the ice-rink. It wasn't auspicious or anything. It was a 1930s building and there were rats running around everywhere.

We said we'd give it a week and then we gave it a couple of weeks and then a month, to the point where we never actually agreed to form a partnership. In fact, we still haven't agreed as to whether we're going to skate together or not... I just keep her on notice.

Jayne is very steady and doesn't let things get to her, whereas I'm probably the other way around and a bit more temperamental and pushy. I'm not saying that she can't do that but she's more likely to take things in her stride, which has balanced us out over the years

We've had rows, of course – constantly. It's all about skating, though: the technical aspect or the performance side.

She thinks my ideas are crazy but I think they're just ideas. I always want to try to be original in what I do and we're always trying to present things in a different way.

In 1998 we decided that was kind of it and said goodbye. We didn't really make a big deal out of it. It coincided with me moving to America and we both wanted to start families. We had seen each other every day for the past 25 years and then it was over. I don't think we'd prepared ourselves for what it meant; it took about a year to adjust.

We've always been in close contact, by telephone and now web camera, so we can see each other if we want. We were just getting used to the situation when the TV show came along and it all started again. There we are, back together skating again.

We've come back to it with a completely different perspective; we've both got families and other responsibilities, so it's not the be-all and end-all of our lives, as it used to be.

I never felt pressure on us from the press to have a romantic relationship. It was all just part of the story. Everyone wants a happy ending, so we'd never have come out and said no. People actually still assume that we're married. They ask me "Is your wife here?" and they're obviously thinking of Jayne. *

The 'Dancing on Ice – The Live Tour 2007' DVD (£19.99) will be available from tomorrow

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