Skate Canada Celebrates Jean Westwood

We all leave legacies when we pass, and Jean Westwood unquestionably has left a tremendous mark on the world of figure skating. An esteemed coach and decorated ice dancer, Westwood and her partner Lawrence Demmy were a British ice dance team, the first to win the world and European championships in ice dancing. The duo would go on to win four consecutive world titles from 1952 to 1955, two European championships and four British championships before deciding to retire.

For Westwood, a well decorated skating career transitioned into a successful coaching career in 1956. Almost Immediately following her retirement Westwood began coaching at a very high-level, carrying a roster of elite skaters, which included Canadian ice dance duo Geraldine Fenton and Bill McLachlan. During her tenure with them, Westwood coached the team to three national titles from 1957 to 1959, two gold medals at the North American Championships and two silver world championship medals in 1957 and 1958.

This was just the beginning for Westwood who would go on to coach figure skating for the next 20 years across all four disciplines. During that time, Westwood was also a NCCP course conductor and a clinic conductor of both CanSkate and CanFigureSkate programs. Westwood was the head coach of National Dance Seminars for 14 years and regularly contributed to publications on ice dance.

Accomplishments continued for Westwood into the late 1970s when her and Lawernce Demmy were the first ice dance team to be inducted into the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 1977. The team was also inducted into the Skate Canada Hall of Fame in 1997. Then in 2017, Westwood was inducted into yet another Hall of Fame with Skate BC/YK.

Jean Westwood made history during her 91 years. On July 26, 2022, Westwood passed away following a battle with cancer. Skate Canada wishes to express their immense gratitude for her decades of contribution to the sport, as well as their sincere condolences to Westwood’s family and friends for the loss of their loved one.

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