Lewis Gibson hopes dancing to a medley of music from his beloved Lion King can help propel him and partner Lilah Fear to big things at the Olympics.
The Prestwick-born figure skating star makes his Team GB debut in Beijing on the back of finishing fifth at January’s European Championships.
A costly error on the twizzle section of the free dance prevented them from ranking higher but Gibson and Fear continued to place fifth in a routine that means a lot to both of them.
“The Lion King is a story that resonates so much with us,” said Gibson.
“We both grew up watching it and loving it and loving the storyline.
“That goes for a lot of people around the world and I really hope what we do out there on the ice can show that.
“I just want our performance to come across as something that people can relate to, sit back and enjoy.”
Fear added: “It’s about friendship, universal love and empowerment – it’s something everyone strives to achieve as a human being.
“It’s about trial and tribulation and remaining gracious and strong and believing in yourself.
“We’ve both experienced ups and downs in our career and personal lives and that’s allowed us to harness those emotions and experiences into a real performance.”
Gibson and Fear have since gone on to win two Grand Prix bronze medals and finished the 2021 World Championships in seventh place.
At one stage the Olympics seemed certain to take place behind closed doors but heavily controlled local Chinese crowds are permitted in venues en masse.
Gibson and Fear have carved out a reputation as crowd-pleasers and an entertaining pair to watch, meaning they’re delighted Covid restrictions allow for an audience.
“We’re so happy about it,” said Fear.
“We’ve experienced competing with and without a crowd and it’s undeniable that having fans in the arena really elevates our performances.
“To have that support means the world. We’re just really grateful – we would have made the most of whatever circumstance, and tried to entertain whether it was through a camera or not.
“We have people back home watching us through the camera so we want to reach them too.”
Gibson said: “It feels like it adds another dimension, you feel that energy they give.
“The applause fires you up that extra notch and that’s what I really appreciate from having people in the building.”
Gibson and Fear’s partnership began back in 2016 when they entered their first international competition that season.
They are both targeting the next Games, set to be staged in Milano Cortina in 2026, as the time to peak and aim for an Olympic medal.
Fear said: “Our dream is to be on the Olympic podium – that would be great to do here, but we have a long-term vision and we want to push ourselves to grow and evolve as athletes over the next four years.
Gibson added: “It’s a competition so you just never know what can happen.
“We have that long-term vision and for that to happen here, it would be a bit of a shock! Amazing, nonetheless, but our sights are set a little further down the line.”
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