Wow On (not) Winning

So, dearest WOW Watchers, now you know.
Please believe me when I say that I was so happy not to have won. And normally, like World Class Olympian competitor Mark, this would not normally be the case.

The standing ovation that we received for our Quick Step: Almost Like Being in Love, was, and is still to this day, one of the most wonderful moments of my life.

Do I think the judges made the right decision? Yes – at that time (July 2009) for the following reasons, which include what I consider to be the reasons behind their decision:

James and Ola are both Latin Ballroom dancers (they are, of course, brilliant at ‘ballroom’ dances) – they are professionals after all, but their principle field is Latin.

James Jordan, (although I believe him to be a ‘good’ friend of Mark's) did not ‘like’ Mark's dancing from the outset. The production have cut many of the James’ comments about Mark’s dancing from the final edits.

Backstage we had a tv where we could watch – and the few occasions that I could see James and Caroline dance, realised that I did not take my eyes off Caroline – she has the ‘it’ factor visually – and when I first saw wheelchair dancing on youtube before the first audition, realised back then, that it looks better ‘visually’ if there is little height discrepancy between the combi couples.

(Mark Foster - 6'6" – hello!)

This, of course, again, is a ‘visual’ factor – v imp for tv – not so important for competitions where the judges would base on ability and connection of and between the couple. And as Pippa (dance trainer) Roberts kept saying: ‘Mark’s height would be an advantage in wheelchair dance competitions – on the tightly packed dancefloor, all the judges would have no problem in seeing him!’

It was regarded (so I believe) that I was the most proficient mover/dancer in the dancing wheelchair from the outset.

comfirmed by Judge Ade Adepitan's comments
on all of my performances

These skills developed not from using a wheelchair – I mainly use prosthetics – but because of my 3 years training in wheelchair tennis – and therefore having a good idea of what difficult high speed movement can be achieved in the chair. Combined with the learned ability to move my body into initially ‘difficult’ positions – again, acquired from learning to walk in two prosthetics where you are forcing the body to adapt to difficult body movement.

However, skills aside (please notice that during the Quickstep, Mark and I are moving so fast, all five wheels of the wheelchair come off the floor!) this year I will turn 50. There, I have said it, one of the possible key factors in the final result is age.

And this is my party/blog so I will cry/make statements if I want to.

We were told from the beginning that BBC3’s remit (amongst others) was to produce programming for the ‘difficult to reach’ audience of 18-34 year olds. (Look back and one of first posts to see how I felt at the first audition.)

And this fact was re-enforced throughout the whole of making of DOW. During the break backstage, before we were due to go out to receive the judge’s deliberations, Harry Lansdowne (BBC3 Commissioning Editor) interviewed me on camera – and from what I recall, every one of his questions related to age. Perhaps he was worried, that due to the reception to our Quickstep, the Judges would announce us the winners. Certainly, that was the ‘backstage’ vibe.

But it was not to be.

And all I can say that not to win – the relief was incredible. Mark and I had done our best, in the circumstances, and that is good enough for me.

Let's boil it all down to the most important key fact: Mark and I were adept at Ballroom, but not at Latin. James and Caroline were excellent in each – they deserved to win.

I was on a high for two weeks after the finals. Never before (apart from giving birth to my beautiful daughter, Lara) have I felt such a sense of achievement.

So, dearest WOW Watchers, and to those of you who still feel that we should have won – wait till you see next week’s episode the ‘final’ final.

And then you will hopefully understand why, although we didn’t win the competition. . . . . .both Mark and I feel like The Winners


I, Like The View said...

I don't think I've cried so much for a long time. . .

. . .some sad tears but mostly tears of joy

thank you!

Glistener said...

I am so disappointed but wanted to say thank you for entertaining us all so well on the show and with this blog. I haven't seen the show yet as I don't have a TV and a got a phone call almost as soon as it was up on iplayer but i knew i would see the results on FB etc

I can't wait and thank you again

JacquiL said...

Congratulations Diana and Mark! I have just watched the final and you were AMAZING Di. I felt so proud watching you and am so looking forward to seeing you soon and congratulating you in person. What a STAR! x

Sofianna said...

Having just watched the final, I have to say I agree with all your comments on why you weren't picked to go forward to Tel Aviv.

Irrespective, you and Mark did really well, I enjoyed watching you dance and I feel you totally deserved to do as well as you did. I was sure from the very first episode that you'd be in the final and even until the last moment I thought (and hoped) you'd be the ultimate winners.

You must both be proud of yourselves and what you achieved, you were amazing! Well done xxx