Graham Bell recalls first meeting with Torvill and Dean

PA

Graham Bell has recalled meeting champion skating duo Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean in 1984, adding it was the same year he got arrested for “stealing an Olympic flag”.

Former Olympic skier Bell, 55, is one of the 12 celebrities taking part in this year’s Dancing on Ice when it returns to screens at the weekend.

Sunday night’s launch show of the ITV programme will see Bell and five other celebrities take to the ice – including Jason Donovan, Joe-Warren Plant, Denise Van Outen, Lady Leshurr and Rebekah Vardy.

Asked if he had ever met Torvill and Dean, who return to the show on the judging panel, he said: “I met them in 84. It was my first Olympics.

“I was 18 and I raced the men’s downhill, didn’t ski particularly well but I had a great time. I got arrested stealing an Olympic flag.

“Best party of my life. I had never been to Sarajevo before either and I had a great time.”

1984 was the year Torvill and Dean won the gold medal for their now famous Bolero routine at the Winter Olympics.

Dancing On Ice 2021
Dancing On Ice 2021

Bell was British ski champion eight times and retired as a professional racer in 1998.

He has since become a TV presenter, journalist and adventurer.

The Ski Sunday presenter also addressed performing lifts and the headbanger, which is the nail-biting move on the ice which sees one partner swung around by their feet with their head just inches from the ice.

He said: “I’m used to taking risks with my own wellbeing and my own livelihood. I’m happy with that.

“But the female pro, particularly the female pro, is the one that’s basically taking all the risks and I’ve never really been in a situation where I’ve had to develop that level of trust with someone that they will allow me as a rank amateur such responsibility.

“It’s like saying to a skydiver – oh I’ve been skydiving for a couple of weeks, do you mind if I pack your chute for you? No. It’s exactly that. Do you mind if I do a headbanger with you? No. You can hardly skate.”

He has been paired with professional skater Yebin Mok.

John Barrowman returns as a judge, as does Ashley Banjo, with Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield once again presenting the series.

Dancing on Ice starts on ITV on January 17 at 6pm.

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