Christopher Dean’s voice cracked, as he and partner Jayne Torvill spoke of their feelings on returning to the ice rink in Sarajevo, the place where they made Olympic history in 1984.
It was an emotional day for the pair, anyway, as they were greeted by the Mayor of Sarajevo at the rink, rebuilt on the same site where the original one was destroyed during the 1992-95 Bosnian War.
But one thing in particular caught Christopher Dean by surprise, and his voice broke as he talked about it.
“Today we had a very emotional moment… it’s (his voice) going again…,” he explained.
“We met the flower girl who was picking up the flowers from the ice just before we were going out to skate - a lot of people in Great Britain have seen this time and time again because they always show the shot.
“To personally hear her story from the 6-year old girl who was picking up the flowers, and her subsequent life afterwards, and today being here with her daughter – the generation who have gone through some difficult, tragic times, and yet now they’re so hopeful and joyous. So that really brought it home for us today.”
Jayne Torvill added, “And her daughter is skating in the show tonight. We always wondered what happened to her, whether she carried on skating. So nice to hear her children are skating too.”
Jayne and Chris had been invited to top the bill with ‘Bolero’, 30 years after their stunning routine to the music of Ravel brought them maximum scores from judges across the board, and secured their record-breaking victory.
On Thursday evening, looking as fit as ever, they took to the ice to perform the routine that Christopher Dean describes as “a dear old friend”.
“It’s never like riding a bicycle,” he explained. “We work on it all the time, and it’s with us all the time.
“When we first won the Olympics, the first thing we were going to do was not perform Bolero again, because we were always moving onto something new, but we realised people wanted to see it more and more.
“We haven’t counted how many times we’ve done it, but it’s in the thousands.”
The dance proved as powerful as ever on the night, bringing the 8000-strong audience to its feet in the packed hall, and Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean looked visibly moved once again.
“Thankyou, Sarajevo, for thirty years ago,” said Christopher Dean. “And thankyou for tonight.”
The pair were joined on the ice by young skaters, including members of the GB squad. Their performance helped launch a campaign to provide a permanent ice-arena in the city, ahead of the 2017 European Youth Winter Olympic Festival. There is talk of calling it the Bolero Rink.