Blind Athlete on Dancing With the Stars

Posted by Ralph | 10:39 AM

"GERRARD Gosens will never lay eyes on his dance partner or see the moves she's teaching him, but for the blind Paralympic runner it's all about feeling the rhythm.

In a world first, the new season of Dancing With The Stars will feature Gosens, adventurer and athlete.

When the program premieres in July it will be the first time the adventurer, who says diving with sharks, climbing Mt Everest and competing in front of 90,000 isn't half as scary as participating in the show, takes to a dance floor.

Remember: Dancing With The Stars 2008 gallery

"This is the most terrifying thing I have ever done," Gosens said.

"I've always stayed off the dance floor because, as you can appreciate, a totally blind person can't make out their surrounds.

"There's a lot of trust in this, but my dance partner and I have already developed some tricks."

While Home and Away actor Lincoln Lewis and stand-up comedian Fiona O'Loughlin have been rumoured to appear on the program, Gosens is the first star to sign to the ninth season of the show.

The Brisbane resident will be the second disabled personality in the world to feature on Dancing With The Stars after Academy Award winning actress Marlee Matlin, who is deaf, participated in the US version last year.

Gosens is approaching the competition like competing at the Paralympics - he wants to win.

"The other competitors can look in the mirror and get their position to see if they look good, I can't do that. To put it into perspective, it took me 30 years to know that an elephant was hairy because all the figurines are smooth. It's been like that with dancing."

Like Matlin, who dispelled misconceptions about deafness when she appeared on the program, Gosens hopes to do the same for blindness.

"It's more than blind faith. I want to challenge a few perceptions," he said.

``It would be great if one day science gives me the ability to replay this and I can see what I've done. It's coming along in leaps and bounds but just to be able to see my kids and even myself would be incredible."

As for tactics, Gosens has one up his sleeve already to put his Dancing With The Stars competitors off.

"I will be getting to the lights and turning them off so the other dances know what it's like to be in my position," Gosens says"


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