The move’s name, “Headbanger,” gets any skater’s heart terrified—but Stef Reid isn’t just any rink performer.
The Paralympian, who has an artificial leg, stunned the Dancing On Ice judges and millions of viewers as she was thrown around at high speeds with her head inches from the ice.
The maneuver involving pro skater Andy Buchanan was even more dangerous as he had to grab her left ankle instead of her right.
Show bosses all but denied the pair permission to attempt the dangerous stunt.
Afterwards, Stef said it felt incredible and revealed how Andy encouraged her to put her life in his hands.
She said: “He basically calls me a chicken! He said, ‘No, sorry, commit to it’. I was like, ‘You kind of got under my skin. Good for you. I like this’.
“He never holds back. He pushes me, we just tackle it.”
The judges gave Stef a 36 out of 40 for her death-defying routine, and she’s hoping for an equally positive reaction on Sunday night.
She and Andy will try to emulate Torvill and Dean’s 1982 World Champion routine from Mack and Mabel.
Stef, 37, said: “People think the headbanger is tough but that’s a lot harder for me because we’re replicating a standard Olympic routine.”
And she’ll also face stiff competition from competitors including ex-Strictly dancer Brendan Cole, The Vamps’ Connor Ball, Pussycat Doll Kimberly Wyatt, BMX racer Kye Whyte and dancer Regan Gascoigne.
But neither Stef, a silver medalist in the long jump at the 2012 and 2016 Paralympics, nor the husband of Canadian wheelchair racer Brent Lakatos are ready for her.
The ITV ice skating show has brought out her sexy side and Brent is delighted. She said: “I discovered so many different sides of myself. Last week I had the chance to play a diva with Material Girl as the song.
“My husband texted me right after my performance and said, ‘Stefanie, where did you learn to sway your hips like that?’ He was impressed.
“I’m having the best time. I enjoy it so much. Dancing On Ice is so glamorous, it’s so much fun.
“We have the best of the best doing our hair and makeup. It’s amazing how you change as a performer when the outside looks the way you envision it on the inside.”
Stef, who grew up watching rugby, lost her right foot in a boating accident 22 years ago and says Brent has been her rock throughout the competition.
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It’s even more poignant because he was left paralyzed in a skating accident when he was just six years old.
Stef admitted the first eight weeks had been really tough as she wasn’t very good and couldn’t walk backwards. She said, “I would say, ‘How can you choreograph someone who can barely skate?’
“He just said, ‘Go ahead. You’ve been to this place before, no matter what, you do your best every day.’ That support was the best. People don’t always see the work you put in, but he saw the whole story and I know he’s super proud.”
Stef’s skills on the ice have also inspired her fans.
She said: “I’ve received so many messages from a variety of people. From parents of children to amputees to adults saying things like, “We’ve never seen this before. We never thought anyone with an artificial leg could do that.”
Stef is justifiably proud of her headbanger, saying, “We’ve done something at DOI that hasn’t been attempted before. Even Jayne Torvill and Chris Dean have never seen it. Because of my prosthetic leg, Andy had to grab my left leg, usually it was the right one.
“I was in a different position than usual, which made it even more dangerous. A lot went against us.
“We had to fight the G-forces much harder. If I had lost that fight, I would have smashed my face into the ice.
“It was still a matter of instinct as to whether we would make it or not.”
Stef said she wouldn’t have gotten this far without the “amazing” Andy.
Despite her brave performance last week, Stef admitted she struggled with the cold and wear and tear on the ice.
She said, “I fall all the time. I’m an excellent faller, which has really worked in my favor. I think it’s years that I’ve thrown myself into a long jump pit at full speed and know how to land properly.
“Part of the feedback I’ve had is that you make it look so easy. But it is difficult.
“It can take me up to four hours longer to learn a move. I fall over while the others start immediately.”
Behind the scenes, Stef said attendees enjoyed themselves and she got particularly close with “super smart and sharp” Coronation Street star Sally Dynevor.
She said: “I really enjoyed Bez too. We have great chats. I’ve been spending quite a bit of time with Brendan. And Kimberly complimented my IUD the other day. She is so talented, it made my day.”
Stef will need all the confidence she can muster for today’s routine, which will be judged by Torvill and Dean.
She compared it to asking to go out and sprint as fast as Usain Bolt, adding: “It’s my worst nightmare because I struggle with complicated, fast forward strides. I can only feel one foot and am constantly off balance.
“To do that in front of them is really scary. I don’t want to screw it up.”
https://www.mirror.co.uk/tv/tv-news/brave-dancing-ice-star-stef-26395503 Brave Dancing on Ice star Stef Reid on why she learned to be an ice headbanger