ICE dance pair Louise Walden and Owen Edwards have carved their names alongside Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean as the British figure skating champions.
The Deeside Ice Rink couple were in a hot vein of form going into the British Championships in Sheffield but were not the favourites after John and Sinead Kerr, winners of the last seven British titles, came out of retirement to compete.
But the confidence of winning the International Trophy of Lyon and the Ice Challenge in Graz, Austria, tipped the balance in Walden and Edwards’ favour and they delivered stunning routines to top the tables and win gold.
The duo has already won the Welsh Senior Ice Championships earlier this year and their latest performances mean Walden, 27, and Edwards, 23, now hold the maximum world ranking points for the ISU international competitions they have entered and are ranked in the top 20 couples in the world this season.
“After the first win it was just overwhelming,” said Walden. “As with many athletes, we have had our highs and lows and at times wondered whether we would ever get our chance. We feel like we need pinching to prove it really happened to us.
“We’re extremely proud of this achievement. It’s huge to have our names on a trophy alongside some of the world’s greatest skaters such as Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean.
“The gold medals make all the hard times so much more worthwhile, it is extremely rewarding for both ourselves and our support network. We hope this is just the beginning for us.”
Edwards said that they had targeted a top-five finish, but added that this season had seen everything click into place for them.
“Of course the goal is always to win,” he said. “But for us this season our realistic target was to make the top five in as many of our competitions as possible.
“This season we have constantly improved our personal best scores and beaten people we have never beaten before.
“It is more than we could have hoped for and we have achieved the maximum number of world ranking points allowed from the events we have attended. I’m just feeling shell-shocked!”