The junior ice dance title is said to be unlucky. With only one exception none of the winners has gone on to win the senior championship. Either their partnership has dissolved or the couple has been eclipsed by those they had beaten. In Sandra and Chris case they started quarrelling. Their coach, Len Sayward, left Nottingham to become the manager of Grimsby ice rink and Sandra and Chris started training with Janet Sawbridge who had just taken up a teaching post at the Nottingham rink after being presented with an MBE for her services to the sport. With three different partners Janet had represented Britain in the international championships for over a decade, and had never been placed lower than seventh. Within a week she was in despair over Chris and Sandras obvious incompatibility. Sandra decided it was just too much. Their partnership terminated, some said because of the jinx on the junior title.
When the news became public that Chris was looking for a partner several possible candidates made it known that they were available. Janet suggested that Chris give Jayne, who had taken ice dance lessons from Len, a tryout. Jayne had seen the handsome Chris around the rink and had heard about his offhand treatment of Sandra. She was interested but extremely nervous. Their tryout was arranged for early morning and Jayne says she remembers little about it except that she could hardly keep her eyes open.
Rumour had it that Chris was going to be matched with a stunning-looking girl from another rink. Few gave Jayne much chance. They didnt appear to be well matched physically, and Jayne was not of the same standard as Chris. However, Janet saw some quality in Chris and Jaynes performance together that was lost to others, and she appreciated Jaynes speed and basic skating ability, developed while she was in pairs competition.
The newly formed couple showed so much promise in practice that the National Skating Association (NSA) took the unprecedented step of entering them in the 1976 summer contests in St Gervais and Oberstdorf before they had competed together in England. They did not let the selectors down, coming second in Germany to a Russian couple who were to finish fifth in the following World Championship, and winning the French event, although Jayne had been sick all the previous week and Chris collapsed as they got to the end of their routine.
Jayne & her 1st partner, Michael Hutchinson
Chris and Sandra Elson (1973)
Torvill and Dean Index. Torvill and Dean (Part 4).
Torvill and Dean
Part 3