How fabulous that Olympic gold boxer Nicola Adams will make Strictly Come Dancing history by becoming the first contestant to be part of a same-sex pairing.
And it’s great to hear her sound so excited about the chance to do something different and new. As an athlete spending so many years in the all-consuming world of professional sport, focused on the training, the routine and the discipline, it’s easy to get so caught up in it that there’s little chance to look outside of it.
It was Nicola’s own request to dance with a female professional, and that’s great. If you know anything about the world of Latin and ballroom dance competitions, there are many female pairs because there are not enough men going into those genres to allow mixed pairs; so seeing all female pairs in a competition is not in the least bit unusual.
But, for Strictly, it has been a long time coming. Having spoken about it for a good few years it is great to see them take that first step. Dancing On Ice did it earlier this year with a same-sex pairing of Steps singer Ian “H” Watkins and professional skater Matt Evers. That led the way and maybe it gave the BBC confidence to do it; that and the fact Nicola made the request.
It will be interesting to see how she gets on. I don’t know the rest of the line-up apart from actor Caroline Quentin and comedian Bill Bailey. Every year there are people I don’t know and it doesn’t affect my enjoyment of the show.
Nicola has a huge personality and she is always smiling. That will help a lot. Anton du Beke, the pro I was paired with in 2014, advised me not to worry about the steps and the dancing in the first few weeks.
He said I should make sure people saw me enjoying myself and got to see my personality, because that’s what they’d engage with and ultimately vote for.
I don’t know if Nicola can dance but her bubbly personality will endear her to Strictly viewers.
She is going out of her comfort zone to try something completely different. I think she is going to be a knockout.
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