From tangos to triathlon gold! Paralympian Lauren Steadman, 28, who was Strictly’s first disabled female contestant and proved her grit on Celebrity SAS triumphs in Tokyo after choosing training over boyfriends
Voormalige Streng Kom Dans star Lauren Steadman claimed her first ever Paralympic gold medal by winning the women’s PTS5 title on Sunday.
The Paralympian from Peterborough, who was born without her right arm below the elbow joint, finished with a time of 1:04:46, wat was 41 seconds ahead of Rio 2016 champion Grace Norman who took the silver.
The 28-year-old finished over the line to claim her first ever gold medal at the Games, after winning three World Championships and three European Championships during her career.
She has since gone on to star in a host of reality TV shows including Strictly, where she became the first ever female disabled contestant, and Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins 2020, where she was crowned the champion.
The athlete tends to keep tightlipped about her private life, rarely sharing snaps of friends and family on Instagram – en geopenbaar in 2018 that she was choosing training over love.
In the run up to Tokyo2020, sy het vertel Die spieël: ‘Right at this moment in time, if I lost a gold in Tokyo because I had a boyfriend then quite a few people would look at me and say, ‘Um – did you make the right choice?’.’
Former Strictly Come Dancing star Lauren Steadman, 28, from Peterborough, claimed her first ever Paralympic gold medal by winning the women’s PTS5 title on Sunday
Die 28-jarige, who was born without her right arm below the elbow joint, often shares snaps of her jetsetting adventures on Instagram (op die foto links, in Florida, en regs, climbing in Snowdonia in Wales)
Born in Peterborough, Lauren began competing in swimming at a young age, with her father also taking her to martial arts classes.
She went on to compete in European Championships while at school and studying for her Psychology degree at the University of Portsmouth.
She went on to graduate with a master’s degree in Business and Management.
Steadman made the switch from para-swimming to the paratriathlon after the London 2012 Olimpiese Spele.
A switch to triathlon helped secure a silver at Rio 2016, and means Portsmouth-based Steadman is well-placed to reflect on the rapid rise in visibility of para-sports over the past decade.
Sy het vroeër onthul: ‘London 2012 was a turning point for that, in broadcasting to the whole world just how inspirational the Paralympics can be.
The Paralympic athlete previously revealed how she felt ‘sexy’ for the first time while performing on Strictly Come Dancing in 2018 (op die foto)
Winning gold has long been a dream for the athlete, who has now taken part in four Paralympics, competing as a swimmer aged 15 at Beijing 2008, Londen 2012 and Rio 2016
‘Some of the feats people achieved in going beyond what is physically possible was absolutely amazing.
‘With the likes of Strictly getting Paralympians involved is helping to broadcast that it is ability not disability.
‘In para-triathlon we made our debut at Rio and there will be more categories next year. It is definitely getting stronger and it is moving in the right direction but there is so much more to do.’
In 2018, Steadman shot to national attention while competing on Strictly Come Dancing with partner AJ Pritchard.
The pair reached the semi-finals before being eliminated, but her whole-hearted approach has gained a new legion of fans.
The para-triathlete admitted that Strictly had been a ‘life-changing’ experience for her, and has huge benefits both personally and professionally.
Steadman made the switch from para-swimming to the paratriathlon after the London 2012 Olimpiese Spele (op die foto, at the Games in 2012)
The athlete tends to keep tightlipped about her private life, rarely sharing snaps of friends and family on Instagram and instead maintaining a focus on her training (op die foto, with her mother and father)
While Lauren’s parents tend to keep a low profile, her younger sister Ellen works as a hairdresser (pictured together with their mother Sharon)
Steadman said: ‘It has been amazing, it is a whole new world for me.
‘Being an athlete I’m used to inspiring kids but to inspire literally everyone who watches TV on a Saturday night has been amazing. I have received such great feedback from parents, onderwysers, even the older generations.
‘So many people are watching and they want you to do so well.
‘It’s been life changing and I can’t really go anywhere now without people recognising me and telling me how much they enjoyed watching AJ and I perform every Saturday night.
‘It is a really humbling experience knowing that I was just trying my best every week and knowing that people wanted us to come back week after week and push the boundaries.
In 2018, Steadman shot to national attention while competing on Strictly Come Dancing with partner AJ Pritchard
‘If the one thing we managed to achieve was to inspire young and older generations to try something new and leave their comfort zone that’s something magical.’
She also credited her pro partner AJ Pritchard with helping her build up her body confidence.
The Paralympic athlete admitted that she felt ‘sexy’ for the first time on the show, and learnt to embrace her disability rather than attempt to hide it.
Praat met The Sun, Lauren confessed: ‘I have been self-conscious my whole life with my arm.’
Sy gaan voort: ‘As a child I was always the one that stood out. Maar, credit to AJ for this, he has made me face a fear and be really, really proud of myself and my body.
‘We’ll do moves and he’ll be like, 'Geen, you can be sexy’, and he’s helped me fall in love with myself for the first time.’
The Paralympic athlete admitted that she felt ‘sexy’ for the first time on Strictly, and learnt to embrace her disability rather than attempt to hide it
After her stint on Strictly, she went on to compete in Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins 2020, which was filmed in Southern Morocco.
Ahead of the competition, she said she was keen to show a grittier side of herself, sê: ‘It’s grit factor!
‘I wanted to show people that just your true grit and determination can get you really far, in a lot of different areas. It comes down to how much you want something and how much you believe in yourself.’
She was one of only two contestants to pass the course alongside musician Locksmith.
Sy het vertel RadioTimes the process was brutal, sê: ‘I went to a deep, dark place, stayed there and got on with it, that’s the only way I can describe it.
‘I had read Ant’s book before we started, just so I knew what I was dealing with, thinking that might give me a chance, but it was hard.’
After her stint on Strictly, she went on to compete in Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins 2020, which was filmed in Southern Morocco
Lauren was one of only two contestants to pass the course, alongside musician Locksmith, and has since said she went to a ‘deep, dark place’ tydens verfilming
Yet she later said she would ‘rather do SAS ten times than go back and do Strictly’.
Sy het vertel Die son: ‘I loved doing both and on Strictly it was about being proud of who I am and inspiring people — I got to be a beautiful, glitzy, glamorous girl…
‘I’d rather be caked in mud and sweat than fake tan and sequins — I found that tough on Strictly.’
The athlete tends to keep tightlipped about her private life, rarely sharing snaps of friends and family on Instagram and instead maintaining a focus on her training.
It is believed she is currently single, after telling Die spieël in 2018: ‘I have had on-and-off relationships before. But I’m always on the move, in different countries, and training times are awkward. You need someone very understanding.’
She has previously credited her dog Meric Belle for helping her to cope during last year’s lockdown, regularly posting snaps as she trains with her pooch.
Describing the win yesterday, 2018 Strictly competitor Steadman revealed she was ‘close to passing out’ as she finished the race but admitted a lot of luck fell her way
The athlete has one younger sibling, Ellen, who is a freelance hairdresser.
And she often shares insights into her glamorous adventures abroad, posting snaps from holidays to Florida and Portugal in recent years.
Describing the win yesterday, 2018 Strictly competitor Steadman revealed she was ‘close to passing out’ as she finished the race but admitted a lot of luck fell her way.
‘I don’t actually think it’s sunk in yet,’ she told Channel 4. ‘Rio devastated me massively and I didn’t know what was going to happen today when you go against world champions and we had a strong field.
‘I just did what my coach said and that was do my game plan and have fun because I didn’t enjoy Rio and I loved this race.
She has previously credited her dog Meric Belle for helping her to cope during last year’s lockdown, regularly posting snaps as she trains with her pooch
‘I feel pretty gutted (for Claire) because when you go in as an athlete and you’ve spent five years preparing for that one race then the chips can fall any way.
‘They fell my way today, they could have fallen Claire’s way. I just hope that Claire comes back because she’s a phenomenal athlete. I’m probably near to passing out but I’m just really happy!’
Vroeër vandag, she shared an emotional black-and-white image as she snuggled up her to her coach Robin Brew after the win.
She posted: ‘Words cannot describe how special it was to have my coach by my side yesterday.
‘He didn’t just coach me…He believed in me. He encouraged me. He pushed me. He guided me. And above all he’s always been there for me.’
Vroeër vandag, she shared an emotional black-and-white image as she snuggled up her to her coach Robin Brew after the win