Ice Skating: Torvill and Dean skate into sunset: Britain's Olympic bronze medallists decide to miss World Championships

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The Independent Online
JAYNE TORVILL and Christopher Dean announced yesterday that they are giving up competitive ice dancing and will not take part in the World Championships in Japan later this month.

The British pair intend to concentrate on putting together a farewell professional tour following their failure to capture a second Olympic title in Hamar last week.

The decision reflects their confusion and disillusionment with the judging criteria which placed them third at the Winter Games despite the fact they gave what they regard as one of their best performances.

The judges' verdict dismayed a majority of the 23 million viewers who watched their performance on BBC - a record domestic figure for a sporting event. It also provoked Lawrence Demmy, vice-president of the Ice Skating Union, to say that they should have had gold rather than bronze.

Before and after their final programme, Torvill and Dean spoke of the unexpected pressures of their return. Having won the European Championships fortuitously with a highly technical free programme, they reshaped 80 per cent of it within the space of two weeks before the Olympics to give it more showbiz appeal.

Both have spoken about resistance within the event to the return of professionals such as themselves, Katarina Witt and Brian Boitano after the ISU's rule change two years ago. After being placed third in the opening section of the Olympic ice dance, the compulsory programme, Dean admitted that if he had been able to look into a glass ball they would not have put themselves through the experience of returning, although the couple say now that they feel it has been worthwhile overall.

Asked if they will definitely not be taking part in any more competitions, Dean replied: 'Yes. We have had a long hard think about it and we have decided that we will not, repeat not, be going.

'We couldn't skate any better than we skated. It was one of those memorable performances. We were disillusioned a little bit about how it happened but we were elated by the reaction - the audience were our judges.'

The British ice dance chairman, Roy Mason, said: 'While my disappointment is extreme, I fully endorse their decision to call it a day. Their treatment at the Olympics was abysmal. Had I been judging out there I'd have been in the same predicament as my colleague Mary Parry, the British judge. I'd have had them first.'

Mason said he has received letters from all over the world echoing the view that T & D should have won gold. 'I can understand their decision not to subject themselves to further humiliation at the world championships,' he added.

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