13 October 2017Three Weeks In, I Can Confirm Strictly Come Dancing Is Not For The Faint-Hearted
Wow, this Strictly business is a crazy, full-on rollercoaster! The initial training, meeting your partner, learning to waltz, bust out a jive and scraping through a paso doble. Three weeks into the competition and I can confirm, Strictly Come Dancing is not for the faint hearted - well, not if you have a dance partner like Oti anyway! She is amazing to work with but her work ethic, and energy, has meant the past few weeks have been the most tiring of my life.
That aside, I’m loving the experience. It’s a challenge and I’m looking forward to seeing what I can achieve, and how far I can go in the competition. If I can make it past week six I’ll be very happy, anything after that is a bonus in my mind.
Having fun is key for me, I want to ensure that I enjoy learning these new skills, meeting new people, and understanding the very, very different world of Saturday night television. I’m throwing myself into any and every opportunity and can’t be enjoying myself any more.
I’m trying to make sure I keep my routine as normal as possible, and fit in my other commitments around my dance training. For example, I attended the launch of the Gym Group’s 100th gym in Feltham, took part in a HIIT workout, then went to meet Oti for two hours of training, with my final stop being a photo shoot with Good Housekeeping in Fulham. I got home at midnight, after which I was up again in the morning for another training session. It’s full-on but exciting.
A lot of people are asking me to compare my athletics training to my dance training. They are very different things. The nerves for example, I stand on the start line of the Paralympics 100m finals and I’m not nervous - I feel really prepared at that moment. I’ve got all my coaches, support staff etc. that help you get there in such a way that you know you’ve done all the work, you just feel prepared, you’ve done all the work and are in a position where you can just go out and do it.
Whereas when you only have three and a half days to train, you do not feel ready whatsoever, so you stand on the dancefloor not confident in your ability and not even confident you’re going to get the steps right, so you’re just nervous of messing it all up. In sprinting you just go up and down, whereas in dancing, there’s a few more steps that that.
As for how my life is now, I’m a bit busier I guess but not much else has changed. Although I was on the train the other day and someone took a sneaky photo which was interesting. They were stood about 10m away and I just saw a phone staring at me and then I spotted her and she just hid, so that was hilarious. But you know it’s just the same old things really - I’m just trying to keep it as real as possible. I’m just happy sitting on the sofa at home with my dogs and my girlfriend - that keeps me happy.
I’m also loving the positive reactions to my dancing prosthetic that was ‘unveiled’ last other night for my jive. I’ve got to thank my team for helping me build it so quickly. I won’t wear it every week, but will probably use it for more up-tempo dances, where I need to bounce on my toes. I love reading that my prosthetic has got households across the UK talking about disability. That is the reason I’m on the show, I want to show everyone that there is ability in disability and that if you put your mind to it, and work hard, then anything is possible. Thank you for your support and I hope you keep watching and voting.