Wedding Rink

updated 10/31/1994 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 10/31/1994 AT 01:00 AM EST

THEY CAME Together amid the glitzy pageantry of an American ice show tour—the spotlights, the sequins, the skating Blues Brothers. But last week, when former world figure-skating champion Jill Trenary, 26, married British ice dancer Christopher Dean, 36, in her hometown of Minneapolis, the congregation wasn't exactly sitting in the dark and twirling souvenir flashlights. A string quartet played Vivaldi and Bach. Entwined American roses and English ivy—symbolizing the transatlantic union—festooned the Episcopal Cathedral Church of St. Mark. And the Reverend Gale Morris gave an eloquent customized blessing. Marriage is like a rink routine, she told Trenary and Dean, a gold medalist at the 1984 Olympics with his partner Jayne Torvill. "Romance is the illusion of an effortless performance. The reality includes the pain of going on when you hit rough ice."

Like a sort of spiritual Zamboni, the service put a fresh, shiny glaze on what had been, for Dean, a remarkably bumpy patch of life. A year ago, Dean was embroiled in a messy breakup with his first wife, Canadian skater Isabelle Duchesnay, whom he married in 1991. Duchesnay had gone public with complaints that Dean cheated on her with a succession of women and that his on-ice intimacy with Torvill left her feeling excluded. Of Trenary, then dating the legally separated Dean, Duchesnay said, "I feel sorry for her."

Dean denied Duchesnay's accusations, and Trenary didn't care: she was, she said, "madly in love." Dean, divorced in December, formally proposed two months later in Norway, moments after he and Torvill won a bronze medal in their Olympic reunion. In a room below the ice rink, he knelt and popped the question. "It was kinda cute," said Trenary.

And so was she, at the wedding, in her white lace, off-the-shoulder gown. When she walked down the aisle with her father, Robert, a steel-mill owner, Torvill sat in a nearby pew. Her husband, Phil Christensen, a sound engineer, served as best man. And yes, there was ice—at the reception, chilling the champagne Dean raised in toast to his new wife. "There are not many things in life you can be sure of," he said. "One thing I'm sure about: this is the girl I'm going to spend the rest of my life with."

From Our Partners