Sunday, February 14, 2010

Kerrs aim to take the games by storm

Ice dance siblings John and Sinead Kerr are planning to gatecrash the medal places in Vancouver by playing up to their reputation as skating’s odd couple.

The brother-and-sister act will attempt to emulate Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean’s 1984 gold medal-winning display – with a helping hand from Linkin Park and Johnny Cash.

The Scottish duo’s routine has met with a mixed reaction on the world stage and they slipped out of medal contention in the European championships after a poorly received performance to Cash’s song I’ve Been Everywhere.

But after claiming silver and bronze in successive grand prix events and retaining their British title, 29-year-old John insists the duo, who are now based in America, are in no rush to ditch their principles.

“We would be thrilled to claim any medal at the Olympics because it is the highest and toughest competition going, but I do believe we have a chance,” said John, who finished 10th with Sinead in Turin four years ago.

“We have our own style and we believe in it and we aren’t going to change it because we believe it represents our best chance of success.

“After our performance in Turin in 2006 we gained a lot more attention and we had lots of people interested in us.

“If we could be successful this time then I’m sure the interest would be even greater.

“Our musical choices aren’t what Torvill and Dean would have picked but we love the choices we have made.

“Last year we skated to Muse, which we really enjoyed, and we always wanted to be skating to music we would listen to.

“We’re a little surprised more people don’t dance to modern songs.

“We have picked Linkin Park – it isn’t an offensive piece but it certainly breaks the mould a little.”

Torvill and Dean wracked up 12 perfect 6s en route to capturing gold in front of 24million viewers 26 years ago on Valentine’s Day.

But while Dundee-born Sinead admits they will never match the English duo’s flawless display, the 31-year-old has vowed to drag ice dancing kicking and screaming into the 21st century.

“We’ve always felt our responsibility to the sport is to try to bring a new generation to it and the only way you can do that is by making figure skating cool,” she said.

“In the last year we have changed people’s perception.

“We’ve really improved in the technical part of our skating, which can be quite difficult at our age. Now we are not going out just as entertainers but to show people we can really skate too.

“The system pushes you to your limit. You need to do the hardest possible lifts. It is much more physically demanding than a few years ago.

“Now no one watching the Olympics can possibly say ice dancing isn’t a sport. It certainly isn’t for wimps.

“You take a lot of bangs and knocks. People just see the glamour, the make-up and the sequins. They don’t see the sweat and tears that go into our training.”

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