Courtney Jones, Around the Ice in 80 Years

Courtney Jones’s autobiography on Amazon UK.

Courtney Jones is being the third Jones discussed on this blog, after Robert Jones and Ernest Jones. I have no idea whether they are related.

This Jones’s achievement is the publication of a memoir, Around the Ice in Eighty Years: An Irreverent Memoir by an Accidental Champion, currently for sale only in the UK. It covers much of what he is known for in both skating and fashion design, including his own competitive experience, his involvement with the ISU and, perhaps most famously, the costumes he designed for Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean.

The book begins with an introduction, “Life’s Rich Tapestry,” that introduces all the characters. This is important because the book is not entirely in chronological order; people come and go throughout it, and it’s nice to have them all lined up in one place.

The bulk of the book is a roughly chronological summary of Jones’s life on the ice, with some excursions into his professional education and life as a fashion designer. It includes descriptions of his five World and six European Championship medals with two different partners along with the difficulty of balancing skating with working to support himself.

Perhaps the most interesting chapter is 6, “You Have To Go Down To Go Up,” which covers several transitions in his life: trying to get a job in fashion design, moving in with his partner Bobby Thompson, and joining the ISU Dance Committee. There’s quite a lot in this chapter, but one important thing is missing: photographs of Jones and Thompson’s two cats, Charlie and Fred. Jones does include an interesting prediction for the future of figure skating:

“[i]t’s obvious that sooner or later the ISU will have to capitulate and allow same sex couples to compete in the Pairs Skating and Ice Dance events; so many sports now have to reassess their basic rules and regulations and I doubt whether, as the years progress, ours will have any alternative but to follow suit.”

Jones 2021, 103

We’ll see what happens.

The last three chapters stand alone: “Creating a Winning Performance” (advice to skaters), “Golden Boys: Curry and Cousins,” and “Our Last Golden Couple: Torvill and Dean.” The latter includes a photograph of the spoon used to stir the dye used on their famous Bolero costumes (p. 188).

The writing is lively and conversational throughout. The casual layout—including the eccentric but consistent capitalization and punctuation—adds to the homey feel and “irreverent” conversational tone. Overall, it’s a broad overview of many years in skating with some very interesting insights. You can get it from YPD Books and Amazon UK.


Courtney Jones. 2021. Around the Ice in Eighty Years: An Irreverent Memoir by an Accidental Champion. York: Herstory Writing & Interpretation / York Publishing Services.