Is it the Olympics? Or the sequins? Ice dance fever hits UK

The Winter Olympics are drawing to a close in Turin today, but the impact of the Games could be felt in Britain for a generation. For figure skating is witnessing a surge in popularity unlike anything seen since the days of Torvill and Dean.

The outfits at the Games may have been more outlandish than ever and there has been a lack of British success, but that has not deterred young hopefuls from taking to the rinks in records numbers.

Across Britain, ice hockey players and curlers are growing irate as excited teenagers attempt double salchows. But figure skating officials are hopeful that the boom will mean a medal bonanza at future Games.

New figures reveal that in the past year there has been a 40 per cent increase in the number of skaters at ice rinks. Several have reported running out of pairs of skates to hire. The number of seasonal outdoor ice rinks has risen from just two in 2001 to more than 30 this winter.

The viewing figures for the skating events at this year's Games have been higher than at any time since Torvill and Dean last competed in the Olympics in 1994 in Lillehammer.

But the upturn in the sport's fortunes are also being credited to a Saturday night television show, Dancing on Ice, that has seen celebrities such as David Seamen try out their skating skills.

Christopher Dean said he was amazed at the growing popularity of the sport he excelled in. "Dancing on Ice has been a part of it," he said. "People are seeing what can be done in a short period of time. Hopefully there will be kids taking it up who, a few years down the road, will be competing on the world stage."

The emergence of a new, young British couple has also had an impact. Brother and sister John and Sinead Kerr finished 10th in the ice dancing in Turin last week and are tipped for a medal at the next Games in 2010.

Parents be warned: aspiring medallists may have to dress like a peacock to win gold. This year's overly elaborate costumes proved too much for former Olympic champion Robin Cousins, who said the costumes are now so outlandish that "you need to be wearing dark glasses to watch them".

THE END OF THE WINTER OLYMPICS

15,000 police officers were deployed during the Games

£57m was spent by Italian authorities on the security operations

One athletetested positive for drugs: Russian biathlete Olga Pyleva

4.9m BBC2 viewers watched the ice dancing final

One medal was won by Britain: Shelley Rudman (silver)

The 2006 Winter Olympics closes tonight after 16 days of competition. There has been no repeat of the heroics that propelled Britain's women's curling team to gold in Salt Lake City four years ago. They crashed out in the group stage, while the men narrowly missed out on a bronze. On the ski slopes, the British highlight was Chemmy Alcott, who came 11th

News
The Banksy image in Folkestone before it was vandalised
people
Life and Style
tech

Sales of the tablet are set to fall again, say analysts

Sport
football West Brom vs Man Utd match report: Blind grabs point, but away form a problem for Van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
Gotham is coming to UK shores this autumn
tvGotham, episode 2, review
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Bloom Time: Mira Sorvino
tvMira Sorvino on leaving movie roles for 'The Intruders'
News
First woman: Valentina Tereshkova
peopleNASA guinea pig Kate Greene thinks it might fly
News
Brian Harvey turned up at Downing Street today demanding to speak to the Prime Minister
news

Met Police confirm there was a 'minor disturbance' and that no-one was arrested

Arts and Entertainment
George Lucas poses with a group of Star Wars-inspired Disney characters at Disney's Hollywood Studios in 2010
films

George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios

Voices
Chris Grayling, Justice Secretary: 'There are pressures which we are facing but there is not a crisis'
voices

Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?

Life and Style
A street vendor in Mexico City sells Dorilocos, which are topped with carrot, jimaca, cucumber, peanuts, pork rinds, spices and hot sauce
food + drink

Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets

Life and Style
The charity Sands reports that 11 babies are stillborn everyday in the UK
lifeEleven babies are stillborn every day in the UK, yet no one speaks about this silent tragedy
News
Blackpool is expected to become one of the first places to introduce the Government’s controversial new Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs)
news

Parties threaten resort's image as a family destination

Life and Style
Northern soul mecca the Wigan Casino
fashionGone are the punks, casuals, new romantics, ravers, skaters, crusties. Now all kids look the same
Life and Style
gaming

I Am Bread could actually be a challenging and nuanced title

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Salisbury ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities

The city is home to one of the four surviving copies of the Magna Carta, along with the world’s oldest mechanical clock
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album