Since coming out two years ago, ice dancer Lewis Gibson has seen his career take a steady climb up the European and world ranks. Since a promising 10th place finish at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, he and partner Lilah Fear have seen the climb accelerate.
On the final day of the European Figure Skating Championships in Espoo, Finland, last Sunday, Gibson and Fear reached a summit. An inspired high-energy free skate, aptly performed to a medley of Lady Gaga hits, propelled them to a silver medal.
The team’s skate was fueled by a crowd in Espoo already excited by the effort of the Finnish duo of Juulia Turkkila and Matthias Versluis, who would end up with the bronze. “The crowd was electrifying and we fed off of that,” Gibson said in the post-skate presser. “It was so amazing when we got to perform with everybody behind us.”
Gibson and Fear were in a close fight with Italy’s team of Charlene Guignard and Marco Fabbri, who had left with bronze at the European Championships twice previously.
The only blemish for the British was slightly bobble during their routine. “There was the mistake and I’m not happy about that but it happens its competition,” Gibson stated. “I think the way we recovered was professional and strong.”
The Italians put up a strong performance in the free skate to widen their lead to more than three points and take the gold and a career first European title for both.
The silver medal by Gibson and Fear continues a trend of breakthroughs since last year’s World Championships, where they improved on their Olympic effort by finishing sixth. The pair added four ISU Grand Prix podium finishes, two events wins in the ISU Challenger Series and their fourth straight British national title.
“Last year felt very much like a year of improvement and it was also very fun to stand on quite a few podiums throughout the season,” Gibson told The Herald prior to the European Championships. “But more than anything, we really were just enjoying showing our program.”
Gibson also became the first Scot to earn at least silver in a major international competition in the sport. The silver medal in Espoo was the best British result at the European Championships in ice dancing since the legendary twosome of Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean won gold at these championships in 1994.
The attention now shifts the upcoming ISU World Figure Skating Championships in Saitama, Japan opening March 20.