Christopher Dean Biography

(British Ice Dancer and Olympic Medalist)

Birthday: July 27, 1958 (Leo)

Born In: Calverton, United Kingdom

Christopher Dean is an English ice dancer/skater and choreographer, best known for winning a gold medal at the 1984 Sarajevo Winter Olympics, along with his ice-skating partner, Jayne Torvill. Christopher had started skating at 10 but later took up a job as a police constable. In 1975, he paired up with Jayne. In 1978, the duo won the British national championship and earned a sponsorship. Following this, both of them left their jobs and focused on ice skating instead. At the Sarajevo Winter Olympics in 1984, the duo, known as “Torvill and Dean,” won the gold medal and also scored perfect 6.0 points for artistic impression from all the judges. In the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, they won a bronze. After this, Christopher participated in and choreographed many shows, such as Ice Adventures. Both Christopher and Jayne retired from competitive ice skating in 1998. However, they reunited on the show Dancing on Ice in 2006. Christopher and Jayne have received several honors, such as the MBE and the OBE. Christopher has been married and divorced twice. He now lives in Colorado Springs with his partner, Karen Barber.

Quick Facts

British Celebrities Born In July

Also Known As: Christopher Colin Dean

Age: 65 Years, 65 Year Old Males


Spouse/Ex-: Isabelle Duchesnay, Jill Trenary, Isabelle Duchesnay (m. 1991–1993), Jill Trenary (m. 1994–2010)

father: Colin Dean

mother: Mavis Dean

children: Jack Robert Dean, Sam Colin Dean

Born Country: England

Figure Skaters British Men

Height: 5'10" (178 cm), 5'10" Males

More Facts

awards: 1984 - BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award
2005; 2003 · Smucker's Stars on Ice - Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Award for Outstanding Choreography
1983; 1982 - BBC Sports Team of the Year Award

Childhood & Early Life

Christopher Colin Dean was born on July 27, 1958, in Calverton, Nottinghamshire, England, to Colin and Mavis Dean.

Christopher’s father was a miner, and his mother abandoned them when he was 6. Following this, his father remarried. His father and stepmother have both passed away. Much later, Christopher reunited with his biological mother.

Christopher was 10 when he had begun skating. Back then, he had been presented a pair of skates as a Christmas gift.

In school, Christopher was the captain of his football team. With time, he started taking ice skating seriously.

Continue Reading Below
Recommended Lists:
Skating Career and Partnership with Jayne Torvill

At the age of 16, Christopher Dean left school and took up a job with the Nottinghamshire Police. He served as a constable from 1974 to 1980. Initially, he managed skating as a hobby while he worked full-time.

His first ice-skating partner was Sandra Elson. They had started skating together when Christopher was just 14. Sandra and Christopher were coached by Len Sayward.

They soon became British Junior Dance champions. However, they parted ways later, due to some differences.

In 1975, Christopher teamed up with Jayne Torvill. The duo was initially trained by Janet Sawbridge. In 1978, Betty Callaway took over as their coach.

They came to be known as “Torvill and Dean” and would practice in their leisure time, as both had jobs that paid their bills. Christopher served as the main choreographer of the team.

They won as a team in contests held in Sheffield and Bristol. Following this, in 1976, the pair won their first international ice-skating contest in St. Gervais, France.

In 1978, the duo won the British national championship. They also earned their first 6.0 for artistry. This was the first of the pair’s seven national championship wins.

Soon, the Nottingham City Council agreed to sponsor them with a grant of £42,000. Following this, both Christopher and Jayne quit their day jobs and started focusing on ice skating completely.

In 1981, they won the first of their four European championships and the first of their four world championships.

Continue Reading Below

At the Winter Olympics held in Sarajevo (then in Yugoslavia, now in Bosnia and Herzegovina) in 1984, Christopher and Jayne performed a free-dance version of Maurice Ravel’s Boléro. The performance earned the duo a gold medal. They also became the highest-scoring skating pair of all time for a single competition.

The pair also scored nine 6.0 points for artistic impression and three more for technical merit, taking the total number of 6.0 points to twelve.

Over 24 million people watched the performance, making the event one of the most-watched sports events in the history of British TV. In 2002, a Channel 4 poll in the U.K. placed the performance on the eighth spot of the list of the 100 Greatest Sporting Moments.

After their stunning 1984 Olympic performance, the duo turned professional ice skaters. They won the World Professional Ice Dance Championship title five times (1984–85, 1990, 1995–96).

Back then, the Olympic Committee rules made the duo ineligible to participate in Olympics again, because of their “professional” status. In 1993, however, the International Skating Union changed the rules a bit, which let them participate in Olympics again.

In 1994, Christopher and Jayne participated in the Winter Olympics held in Lillehammer, Norway. Unfortunately, the judges there declared some of their dance moves illegal. Christopher and Jayne were thus penalized and could only win a bronze medal.

Following this, the duo appeared on countless dance shows, some of them being their own tours. They also choreographed a lot of shows. In 1998, both Christopher and Jayne retired from competitive skating, after touring with their own skating show, Ice Adventures.

The duo also appeared on Stars on Ice. Their last performance on the show was an ice dance set to Paul Simon's track Still Crazy After All These Years. After a gap of 7 years, in January 2006, they appeared together again, as judges, on the ITV show Dancing on Ice.

In 2018, Christopher Dean choreographed the free performance of Aljona Savchenko and Bruno Massot. Aljona and Bruno won the gold medal in pair skating and made a world record at the Winter Olympics held in Pyeongchang.

Continue Reading Below
Awards and Recognitions

On April 28, 1983, Christopher Dean (along with Jayne Torvill) became an Honorary Freeman of the City of Nottingham. The next year, the were declared the BBC Sports Personalities of the Year.

In the 1981 Queen's Honours List, both Christopher and Jayne were bestowed with the honor of the Member of the British Empire (MBE). In 1989, they were both inducted into the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame.

In 1993, the duo received honorary MA degrees from the Nottingham Trent University. They were also honored by the German Federation in 1995.

In the 2000 Queen's Millennium (New Year) Honours List, Christopher and Jayne both received the honor of the Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE).

In 2012, both of them were made ambassadors of the European Figure Skating Championships held in Sheffield, England.

Personal Life

Christopher Dean married Isabelle Duchesnay in 1991. Isabelle is a French–Canadian world ice-dance champion.

Christopher and Isabelle had met in the late 1980s, while he was choreographing for Isabelle and her brother, Paul.

They divorced in 1993, following which Christopher tied the knot with U.S. figure skater Jill Trenary in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on October 15, 1994.

The couple had two sons, Jack Robert and Sam Colin. In March 2010, the couple declared they had split. However, Christopher is still on good terms with Jill.

In 2011, Christopher began a relationship with Karen Barber, after they worked together on Dancing on Ice. However, Christopher and Karen had been friends for years, much before their appearance on the show.

Karen was previously married to skating coach Stephen Pickavance. However, in January 2011, she was photographer kissing Christopher near a London restaurant. Within a few days of the incident, Karen confirmed that her marriage with Stephen was over.

Christopher and Karen also released a joint statement later, saying that their friendship of over 30 years had changed its nature suddenly. Karen has two daughters, Emma and Laura, from her previous marriage.

Christopher and Karen still work together on Dancing on Ice. While Karen appears as a head coach, Christopher is part of the judging panel.

Interestingly, Christopher’s fans have often romantically linked him with his skating partner, Jayne. Many had also mistaken them to be a married couple. However, the pair dismissed all such rumors.

Jayne Torvill is married to Phil Christensen since 1990. Nevertheless, Christopher’s first wife, Isabelle, had once described Jayne as “the third person in my marriage.”

In 2013, Christopher admitted in an interview that he had kissed Jayne once long back, while on a training trip. However, he also added that they had never been in a relationship.


The 2018 ITV biopic titled Torvill & Dean showcased the lives of Christopher Dean and Jayne Torvill. The movie featured actor Will Tudor as Christopher.

See the events in life of Christopher Dean in Chronological Order

How To Cite

Article Title
- Christopher Dean Biography
- Editors,

People Also Viewed

Jayne Torvill Biography
Jayne Torvill
Yulia Lipnitskaya Biography
Yulia Lipnitskaya
Nancy Kerrigan Biography
Nancy Kerrigan
Yuzuru Hanyu Biography
Yuzuru Hanyu
Tessa Virtue Biography
Tessa Virtue
Dorothy Hamill Biography
Dorothy Hamill
Annabel Bowlen Biography
Annabel Bowlen
Monika Dannemann Biography
Monika Dannemann