As he becomes the first disabled contestant to compete in Strictly Come Dancing’s main show, Paralympic sprint champion Jonnie Peacock has said he will be trying “not to let anybody down”.
Peacock had one leg amputated below the knee after contracting meningitis at the age of five. He won his first Paralympic Gold medal in 2012 in London and triumphed again in 2016.
Asked about the impact of seeing a disabled celebrity on Strictly, Peacock said it was a “massive step forward”.
The 24-year-old added: “I think that’s the way the UK has been going over the last few years, 2012 was obviously a massive influence of that. How mainstream disability has started to become – and yeah, I’m going to go on there and try not to let anybody down.”
But he warned: “There is a high chance that many amputees are much better at dancing than I am.”
Peacock follows on from Cassidy Little, a Marine medic and amputee who competed in The People’s Strictly for Comic Relief. But no disabled contestant has ever taken part in the main show on Saturday night in the history of Strictly Come Dancing.
Despite his Paralympic success, Peacock is far from confident he will triumph on the dance floor, previously explaining he has such low expectations of himself that he doesn’t think he could ever make the final.
Still, that doesn’t mean he won’t have fun.
“For me, it’s something I’m so not comfortable with doing, dancing is definitely not my forte,” he said.
“So this is kind of throwing yourself in and trying to grow as a person, because I think at times like this when you put yourself into a situation where you are so far removed from what you do, then you learn so much about yourself and I’m just going to try and have as much fun as possible.
“Hopefully some people at home won’t laugh too much!”
Strictly Come Dancing – The Launch airs on Saturday 9th September at 7pm on BBC1