Torvill and Dean kickstarted Scottish skater Lewis Gibson’s searing rise from a humble footballing background in Prestwick to the Winter Olympic Games.

Gibson, 27, and dance partner Lilah Fear, 22, were among the first Team GB athletes selected for the showpiece taking place in Beijing in under ten days’ time, where they will compete in the ice dance event.

The Scot was a relative latecomer to the sport and admits watching the legendary British duo – who won a stunning gold medal dancing to Bolero at Sarajevo 1984 – on Dancing On Ice is what first set his skating fires burning.

Gibson, whose journey to the Games has been fuelled by a £40,000 injection of funding to figure skating through UK Sport’s Beijing Support Fund, said: “I started skating after watching the first season of Dancing on Ice, with the amazing Torvill and Dean.

“I just thought it looked like fun. I always played football beforehand, so it was a very different sport to try. 

“I went along to my local rink and I enjoyed it so much. Honestly, I just never stopped, never questioned stopping either.

“To be here now and going to the Olympics that Torvill and Dean were so famous for competing in is insane.

“Of course growing up, you get called names. There’s plenty of names but for me what was really great was when competitions and things would go well, you’d be in the school newspaper.

“I was seen to be doing something competitive and doing it well, so that helped me.” 

In October last year, UK Sport announced a new investment stream for winter sports not currently in receipt of World Class Programme funding in order to lift their preparations for, and performances at, the Olympic Winter Games.

Gibson has benefited from UK Sport’s funding but Beijing will not be his first experience of the big stage lights, after he and Fear travelled to PyeongChang in 2018 as part of Team GB’s Ambition Programme.

Gibson points to that as a huge learning experience – but is playing it cool about how the Games might look amid potential restrictions and limited crowds in attendance after a recent fifth-place finish at the European Championships in Estonia.

“To go there and be able to experience the Olympics with no stress of competition was really one of the greatest opportunities we could have asked for,” added Gibson, whose sport is one of seven to benefit from the Beijing Support Fund as UK Sport embark on their mission to create the greatest decade of extraordinary sporting moments and reach, unite and inspire the nation.

“There’s a lot of different parts floating around as to how it will look and we don’t know, but luckily for us we’ve competed in a few bubble competitions so we’ve had that experience already and I’m grateful for those.

“It’s not always easy but at least we’ve had some form of training of that at least.

“We both love competing and performing in front of people. Whether there will be a crowd or not we don’t know but that’s something that really fires us up and we enjoy it.

“Just getting to the Olympics for us is such a huge achievement and we go into every competition just wanting to grow and always better all of our performances that we do, master what we do each season as well and then just see where that has us.”

UK Sport has an ambition to become an ever-greater force in winter sport. The Beijing Support Fund, which utilises Government and National Lottery investment, demonstrates UK Sport’s commitment to a wider group of sports, athletes and teams in the high-performance community as part of its mission to create the greatest decade of extraordinary sporting moments; reaching, inspiring and uniting the nation. For more information visit