Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Vintage Video: Diane Towler and Bernard Ford

Bernard Ford, MBE, (born in Birmingham, England) is a British former ice dancer. With partner Diane Towler, he is a four-time World, European, and British Champion. He is also a World Professional Ice Dance Champion. He later became a coach and choreographer.

Ford and Towler dominated the international ice dance scene by capturing European and World Figure Skating Championship titles from 1966 to 1969. The couple also participated in the 1968 Grenoble Olympics ice dance demonstration, winning the gold medal. Ice Dance officially became a part of the Winter Olympic Games in 1976.

The team was coached by Gladys Hogg in London, England at Queens Ice Dance Club.

The achievements of Towler and Ford earned them the appointment of Members of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) by Queen Elizabeth II, as well as a spot in the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 1993.

Ford immigrated to Ontario, Canada in 1971 and coached numerous ice dance teams to national titles and international acclaim, most notably 1986 World Championship ice dance bronze medalists Tracy Wilson and Rob McCall. His coaching success with Wilson and McCall earned him the Petro-Canada Coaching Excellence Award and the Longines-Wittnauer Coaching Excellence Award.

In 1986 Ford co-founded the York Region Skating Academy in Richmond Hill, Ontario. It was here in 1989 that Ford, with assistance from coach Kelly Johnson and ice dance team Laurie Palmer and Steven Belanger, invented the Cha-Cha Congelado: an International Skating Union compulsory dance. In 1999 the Town of Richmond Hill recognized Ford with an induction into the Richmond Hill Sports Hall of Fame.

In 1994 Ford took a coaching position in Seattle WA, USA were he produced national champions and international competitors alongside coaching ice dance teams from Australia and Japan to World competition. Ford returned to Canada in 2003 and continues to coach ice dance teams to the national and international level. He is currently coaching at the Royal Glenora Club in Edmonton, AB.

In January 2007 Skate Canada recognized Ford’s contribution to the discipline of ice dance with an induction to the Skate Canada Hall of Fame.

Ford currently resides in Edmonton, AB with his wife.

Diane Towler (married Green) (born 16 December 1946 in London, England) is a former British ice dancer and currently a figure skating coach.

She is a four-time World and European Champion in ice dancing with skating-partner Bernard Ford. Their coach was Gladys Hogg. They participated at the introduction of ice dancing at the Olympics in 1968. Ice Dancing has become part of the Winter-Olympics in 1976. Diane and Bernard are also members of the World Figure skating Hall of Fame Colorado Springs. They are mostly well known for their Zobra the Greek programme which helped to improve ice dance. Diane and Bernard also received MBEs for their service to Ice skating

After her amateur career, Diane Towler and Bernard Ford participated in ice shows. After her skating-partner moved to Canada, Towler became a figure skating coach. Among her students are Janet Sawbridge and Peter Dalby (Bronze at the Europeans 1972) and her twins Candice and Phillipa both British Junior ice dance Champions and world competitors. Her Nephew Mark Bosley Junior ice Dance Champion and 5th at junior worlds. Alan Abretti and Liz Coates became World and European competitors

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