I anticipated writing this blog mid-January. My thinking was that Dancing On Ice starts beginning of January, I really wanted to make it through the first week, then I knew it was going to be tough so if I had had to wait until mid-January to write this blog then I would have been content.
It is now the beginning of April and this rollercoaster ride is coming to its final thrill seeking vertical drop!
I can’t believe how far I came. To come 5th in a sports competition which veers over into a popularity contest makes me really proud. And massively thankful.... if you are reading this blog the likelihood is you may have supported me on this journey. If so, from the bottom of my heart, I thank you. I thank you for helping me get my leg strong again. I thank you for helping me raise my profile and that of the sport I love. I thank you for helping me get on the Dancing on Ice tour (am writing this on the bus travelling to our first venue) which will help me fund my summer skiing. But most of all I thank you for helping me to inspire anyone who has ever had an injury and needed motivation to get back.
I met some fabulous, generous and caring people. The other ‘celebrities’ whom at first I felt distanced from since I am not from their world, encompassed me so warmly that they are all now close friends. The production team, the hair and makeup, the costume, the runners - all of whom without the show would most certainly fail. Chris and Jayne who took a huge chance with me - maybe because they felt empathy at me being a fellow winter athlete, maybe because they wanted to show people who I am behind the skiing mask, maybe just simply they wanted to see if I could skate and entertain. And most of all the fabulous Sean Rice. I couldn’t have asked for a better partner, mentor or friend. We both know this is the beginning of our friendship and any future successes I have in skiing are owed in part to this wonderful big friendly giant!!
The highs of the show were undoubtedly facing my demons, challenging myself and Sean and I being stubborn enough to get that dam Platter lift up! And then of course my Magic show. It was probably the week of my life I giggled the most. To go out when you have put your heart and soul into something, and enjoy it so greatly was no bad thing. I did my best, it’s just the judges thought Chico did better - and he went on in the competition to do so well that I was proud to have been knocked out by such a wonderful man and hugely charismatic skater.
The low was the realization that like skiing, this is a tough, cut throat sport where anything can happen to anyone. When my good friend Sebastian lost his way in the Ultimate Skills Skate Off I found it horrendous. Watching from the stage shouting and willing him on through my tears, my heart ached for him. He was a wonderful skater who left the competition too early. But that also was a wakeup call for all of us - no one was safe!
But I feel I proved my point. I showed any skeptics that I was doing this not to enter the world of celebrity-dom, nor to cash in on my crash but to test myself. To see if, in this controlled environment doing sport specific challenging edge controlled moves if my right leg could handle it. And it did. So now I am strong again - skiing Chemmy is once again pounding her way in my heart ready to put my all on the edge again and continue my journey to compete in Sochi Olympics 2014.
The tour is going to be fun but tough. Tough in the way I have to go out every day and perform - my weaker side but one which I have gradually accepted and secretly grown to love. Also tough because alongside all the travelling and skating, I will be physical training to be a ski racer again and planning my comeback. I know it will be a challenge - I reached 8th in the world with a good leg and funding - now I have a slightly numb leg and no government financial backing (which makes me even more grateful to my fabulous sponsors) but I believe more than ever that the skills I have learnt, the mental strength I have gained, the passion in my heart and my will to try again will prevail and in the words of the great Arnie, I WILL BE BACK!