Lauren Steadman, Strictly Come Dancing contestant, three-time Paralympian & Rio Silver Medallist, double World Champion, 6 time European Champion, elite para-triathlete. Lauren studied at UoP and has made Portsmouth her home.
What first attracted you to Portsmouth?
I loved the city vibes that Portsmouth has, it’s small, next to the sea, has lots of history, and being a university city it attracts a diverse array of cultures, generations and a young positive mindset.
What was Portsmouth student life like? Being a student at Portsmouth University was a great chapter in my life, the university itself is very encouraging and pushes its students to achieve the best they possibly can, whilst also gaining those ‘life experiences’ away from home too!
What is your greatest achievement?
Securing my first World Title back in 2014 in Edmonton. I had all my family by my side, and it was an incredible feeling!
What do you love to do back home in Portsmouth when you’re not training?
I really enjoy socialising with friends, in and around all the local independent cafés and bars, I enjoy strolling on the promenade, reading, baking and chilling time!
You’ve competed in many competitions over the years, how did Strictly compare?
Strictly was an incredible experience, one which I don’t think you could ever fully understand unless you take part! It was a whole world away from sport, but an opportunity I feel very fortunate to have been lucky enough to have experienced! I have learnt new skills for life, made new friendships, and overall it has taught me much more about myself as a person.
What was your best Strictly moment?
Dancing my Viennese waltz with AJ, that moment I just danced with no thoughts, and it felt as though I was gliding around the room – thank you to AJ, without him I doubt my Strictly journey would’ve been half as beautiful!
You are an inspiration, and have overcome many barriers in your life and career, what advice would you share to people facing daily challenges?
I would like to tell everyone that yes, we are often faced with difficult challenges and choices, and while we often shy away from what we are capable of achieving, it really isn’t about what you have or want, it’s about how hard you try, and how far you are willing to go in order to achieve a goal or dream. It starts small, a goal or dream, you have to chip away slowly at it and one day you’ll realise you are much closer than you thought! It’s also okay to ask for help and guidance along the way to beating any barriers- the hardest part is starting!
You have a strong supporting community here in Portsmouth, do you often get recognised when out in the city?
Yes! Since the show has finished I’ve been recognised by many people, and most come and say hello, so it’s great to get a sense of community and that Portsmouth really is home!
What’s next for World & European Champion Lauren Steadman?
What’s next is to retain my titles this year and hopefully reach the qualification standard for Tokyo 2020!