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University of Portsmouth Alumni takes on the dancefloor

Paralympic silver medallist Lauren Steadman shows that her skills aren't limited to the lecture hall and the track

University of Portsmouth Alumni, Lauren Steadman, swapped her trainers for heels when she took to the screen in the BBC One television competition Strictly Come Dancing for the first time.

While studying at Portsmouth, Lauren achieved a First Class honours degree in Psychology, and then went on to complete a Masters degree in Business and Management, where she achieved a distinction. She was supported through the University’s sports scholarship scheme, which was provided by the Department of Sport and Recreation.

Lauren was born missing her lower right arm. She has gone on to become a professional Paratriathlete, and has since competed in three Summer Paralympics, both in swimming and paratriathlon. Not only is she a Paralympic silver medallist, but she is also a European Champion six times over.

This summer it was announced that Lauren would join Strictly’s 2018 lineup, alongside stars such as BBC News anchor Kate Silverton, comedian Seann Walsh, and Red Dwarf’s Danny John-Jules.

In an interview with the show, Lauren revealed that, “I think Strictly, for me, has always been a chance to learn something new, not necessarily make a fool of yourself but just go out there with no pressure and learn a new skill. Obviously dance with a partner and I just love the fact that with Strictly, the whole country gets behind you and it’s more of a family and a community.” She confessed that, “It’s been my favourite TV show since I was a little girl. Every Saturday night I’d sit down with Mum and Dad with our dinner and watch it and I always thought ‘wow’. I suppose every little girls says ‘I wish I could dance like that’ so that sparked it and then it actually became something that might be possible.”

Dancing the waltz with her partner AJ Pritchard, it’s clear that Lauren has as much grace on the dancefloor as she does talent and determination in sport. September was a hectic month for her, with Lauren having to balance her Strictly training with the 2018 ITU World Triathlon Grand Final Gold Coast, which she won a gold medal in. Despite only two days of training and rehearsing, Lauren danced an elegant waltz that saw her ranked sixth on the leaderboard.

A tweet she sent out after the episode aired expressed her excitement: “I felt like a princess! Happy and relieved after only 2 days….but he was a prince and taught me well- thank you @Aj11Ace I loved dancing the waltz [with you]! Excited for next week!”

You can tune in to see Lauren Steadman on BBC One every Saturday night, where she will be throwing on her dancing shoes once again.