The British figure skater who, with her skating partner Christopher Dean, won a gold medal in ice dancing at the 1984 Winter Olympics and a bronze medal at the 1994 Winter Olympics, has offered her support to the city as it stakes its claim for the Europeans.
Torvill, who took top honours in the competition four times, says Sheffield is the ideal venue for the prestigious championships especially as ice skating sees a huge resurgence in the UK following the popularity of TV programme Dancing on Ice.
Jayne said: “Sheffield has very fond memories for both Christopher Dean and myself. The HallamFM Arena was in fact the last time we competed in the UK at the British Figure and Ice Dance Championships in 1994 in front of a capacity crowd of 9,000 spectators. Since this date we have seen the opening of iceSheffield, that is now the National Ice Centre for figure skating for the UK.
“During the last 24 months, we have seen a great resurgence in ice skating and in particular huge public audiences for the recent TV programme Dancing on Ice. Also, and perhaps for the first time since Christopher and I competed, the UK has a dance couple – Sinead and John Kerr - who are currently top 10 at Europeans and recently finished top 10 in the Olympics.
“We also have a number of exciting junior athletes who are now coming through the ranks. The timing of this bid could not, in my view, be better.”
The National Ice Skating Association of the UK (NISA) is spearheading the bid in partnership with UK Sport, Sheffield City Council’s Major Sports Event Unit, Yorkshire South Tourism with Sheffield International Venues’ iceSheffield, HallamFM Arena and the English Institute of Sport playing a crucial role in the proposal.
The bid also details how Sheffield, a designated National City of Sport by Sport England, has continued to invest in its world class sports facilities and become the national centre for figure skating.
The European Figure Skating Championships take place annually and are the third largest competition involving figure skaters behind the World Championships and the Winter Olympics. The contest has been held in Malmo, Sweden in 2003, Budapest, Hungary in 2004, Torino, Italy in 2005, Leon, France in 2006 and Warsaw, Poland in 2007 with future events already planned for Zagreb, Croatia in 2008 and Helsinki, Finland for 2009.
NISA chief executive Keith Horton is delighted Sheffield is representing the UK and said: “Having been host for the 1950 World Championships in London, the 1989 European Championships and the 1995 World Championships in Birmingham we would now welcome the opportunity of inviting the ISU European nations in 2010 to Sheffield.”
UK Sport’s Senior Events Consultant Martin Morton believes the Sheffield bid, also backed by Sports Minister Richard Caborn and the South Yorkshire 2012 Steering Group, offers the best amenities for the best skaters in Europe.
He said: “Since the early 1990s, over £150m of new world class sports facilities have been developed in Sheffield including the Hallam FM Arena and iceSheffield. These ice skating amentities in Sheffield are the most exceptional in the UK and rank amongst the top in Europe too. UK Sport is delighted to be supporting this bid and we look forward to working in partnership to bring the European Championships to the North of England.”
Steve Brailey, chief executive of Sheffield International Venues that manages the three sporting arenas to be used in the bid, said: “The quality of ice, spectacular light and sound systems, the tremendous atmosphere and the superb support services place Sheffield as a world leader for staging high profile ice sports championships.”
Gary Clifton, head of Sheffield City Council’s Major Sports Events Unit, said: "Sheffield’s fantastic facilities has allowed the city to host more than 550 national and international sporting events giving the city unrivalled experience and a reputation second to none for excellence.”
Sheffield International Venues-managed iceSheffield is already set to host one of eight world qualifiers for the ISU Junior Grand Prix in September this year.
A decision on where the championships will be held is expected in early June 2007.
Great Britain was the birthplace of figure skating and was a founding member of the International Skating Union. It has participated in all ISU international championships since its inception