As if Jonnie Peacock’s athletic career wasn’t illustrious enough, the Loughborough-based athlete has taken on a new challenge.

After becoming an amputee due to meningitis at just the age of 5, Peacock quickly overcome any obstacle thrown at him. Still in his teenage years, he triumphed in the T44 100m at London 2012, taking home gold and making a big name for himself. Nearing the end of June 2012, Jonnie Peacock became the fastest amputee sprinter in the world. This made him not only a world-class para-athlete, but a sensational role model to a vast audience- old and young.

There’s absolutely no reason why Jonnie would be an inferior dancer to his other competitors, with his prosthetic leg making no difference to his jaunty jives and suave salsa’s. At first, Jonnie admitted to driving past the track and wanting to get back to ‘what he was best at’, but the Strictly experience ‘has been fun’ and the ‘awesome’ facilities’ of Loughborough University certainly haven’t been a hindrance to Jonnie’ fantastic performances.

Jonnie compares his Strictly experience to ‘a rollercoaster’ due to its polar opposition to sprinting. He explains how different they are, now 9 years into his sprinting career, training is based around ‘fine- tuning’, whereas with Strictly, ‘every single Monday you’d learn a brand-new routine’.

Ten million voters watching at home is a lot of pressure, but after a fantastic journey on Strictly Come Dancing, Jonnie has demonstrated how rewarding it can be to try something completely different. Let’s not forget professional dancer Oti, who partnered Jonnie throughout the competition, helping with his success. She says that she was very ‘impressed with his ability to handle the pressure’ of the competition and the tens of millions of people voting every week. This could be a skill that Jonnie has brought with him from the track. Or something that triggers as soon as he steps onto the dance floor.

Jonnie compares the nerves of stepping out onto the dance floor, to the nerves of stepping onto ‘the start line’ when he’s sprinting. This shows that, however much experience you have in something, you should always throw yourself into it and ignore the nerves. Alternatively, you should use the nerves to fuel your performance.

As Jonnie narrowly misses out on a spot in the tenth week of the competition, he has not failed to make his mark.

Hannah Bradfield


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