Torvill & Dean back in Sarajevo 30 years on

Thu Feb 13, 2014 10:30am EST
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By Daria Sito-Sucic

SARAJEVO (Reuters) - Ice dancers Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean made an emotional return on Thursday to the venue of their gold medal-winning performance at the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo, a high point for the city before it was torn apart by war.

Britain's most celebrated winter Olympians pledged their support for the construction of a new ice rink in the city to replace those destroyed by bombs during a 43-month siege between 1992 and 1995 in which more than 10,000 people died.

Torvill, 56, and Dean, 55, were due to re-enact their iconic ice dance to Ravel's Bolero, which drew an unprecedented perfect row of 6.0 scores, later on Thursday.

"We are so honored and humbled to be invited back to Sarajevo to celebrate our 30th year since the Olympics and to be able to come back to the place where our lives changed," Dean told a news conference.

"More than anything we hope it will launch a campaign to get the ice rink built for the development of new skaters and for the success of their 27th Winter Olympic Youth festival (in Sarajevo)," he added.

The visit is part of a number of events to mark three decades since the Sarajevo Winter Olympics, fondly remembered by Sarajevans as a moment of high hope before war tore apart federal Yugoslavia in the 1990s, killing 100,000 people in Bosnia.

The Zetra hall, where the British pair won gold, was razed in the bombardment of the city. Most of the Olympic venues have been reduced to rubble either by conflict or neglect over the past 30 years.

The Zetra hall was rebuilt in 1999, but Sarajevo remains without a year-round ice rink.   Continued...

British skaters Jayne Torvil and Christopher Dean at the European Championships in 1994- RTXFHN5