Double Paralympic Champion Libby Clegg has joined the ITV show Dancing on Ice and wowed the judges and audience with her first performance with partner Mark Hanretty.

Sunday (12 Jan) night saw her debut performance on ITV’s Dancing on Ice to fast-paced song Reet Petite by Jackie Wilson.

Libby Clegg has a visual impairment called Stargardt’s Macular Dystrophy which means she is registered blind and as she described on the show “I can’t even see my hand in front of my face”.

This makes ice-skating a particular dangerous sport to attempt, but the fearless, world-class sprinter not only grabbed the opportunity with both hands but achieved the highest score on the series so far.

The four judges – Ashley Banjo, John Barrowman, Jane Torvill and Christopher Dean – were astounded at the execution, technical ability and timing with the music and they each awarded 7.0, giving her a total of 28 out of a possible 40 points.

Her athletic training stands her in good stead in terms of fitness, speed, training and it appears her visual impairment will not impede her ability to dance on ice, something that is incredible in itself, not to mention the fact that she had a baby nine months ago.

She explains on the show that as an athlete she can feel when things feel right with the moves and turns, she can also hear when it doesn’t sound right and this allows her to correct herself. Her partner Mark has had to adjust the way he translates the moves to Libby as he can’t show her, and their partnership has to have a lot of trust to allow Libby to feel confident on the ice and perform to her best ability. This is surely a bond that will only get stronger and hopefully impress the judges and viewers going forward as she will  no doubt attempt harder dances and tricks each week.

It is amazing to see a visually-impaired athlete included in the show but there is the usual danger of her achievements turning into inspiration porn for the masses.

As Libby stated on the show:

“I don’t want to be on here and be rubbish. I want to actually look good and I don’t want to look good for a blind person, I want to look good because I look good.”

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