Friendship at the heart of Fear and Gibson's ice dance debut

Lewis Gibson and Lilah Fear believe their authenticity is a key to success as they started their Winter Olympic campaign in Beijing.

Ice dancers Gibson and Fear sit tenth after their rhythm dance as they looked to match their seventh place at last year's World Championships in Estonia.

Some skaters rely heavily on exploring romantic routines but Gibson, who came out two years ago and is now married to husband Joshua Walsh, and Fear prefer a different approach.

"Our routines are authentic to us, it's who we are and what our relationship is," said Gibson, a four-time national champion.

"When you watch skating you want to see a connection between the couple and that's what we bring, just that sheer joy of being out there, and hopefully that resonates with people.

"For me I was very lucky, many figure skaters have come out before me. I'm glad that I've done it now, the skating community is very small and the whole experience has been very freeing."

Gibson and Fear are not only partners on the ice but best friends off it, finishing each other sentences as they talk over the top of each other in interviews.

"Since Lewis came out to me I've seen him flourish so much as a person and I'm absolutely in awe of who he is and happy he can express himself to his full potential," added Fear.

Fear and Gibson were just outside the medals at the Europeans but a mistake on their free dance, set to Hans Zimmer's soundtrack from The Lion King, saw them drop down the standings to fifth.

At the Olympics they are looking up, not down – though admit Beijing is very much part of a long-term project, with Milano-Cortina in their sights in 2026.

"We've worked so hard for this moment and I'm really proud of what we did," said Gibson. "We love the idea of fighting to climb up the rankings now."

Fear added: "We were so honoured to finally get on Olympic ice and that was a performance we were really proud of and had the best time.

"We are well set up for the free, we really believe in that programme and we can't wait to show what we are capable of."