I wanted to share my true story. I'm a professional ballroom dancer from Russia living in USA. I began dancing at the age of 7 and at 14 I had an accident which nearly killed me. As a results of the trauma I was paralyzed. The doctors told me that I should be prepared for the possibility of not walking again, and that I should forget about dancing altogether.
On July 5th 2001, when I was fifteen, I arrived in Vladivostok with my partner and teachers to dance at another competition. It was the biggest competition in our region, and it took three full days to get there. As soon as we checked into our hotel, we went to the venue to see the list of competitors. Two of the couples that always placed ahead of us weren’t on the list. It was a happy surprise for us. For the first time, I felt so relaxed before the competition because I had nothing to worry about. Our dancing was stronger than ever, and we only had two couples that could possibly place better than us, but they weren’t competing. On top of that, we had a whole day to recover from the trip and relax with our friends before we had to compete. Conveniently, the venue for the competition was right by the public beach.
It was Friday morning, the weather was great, and we couldn’t wait to go swimming. Everyone was in a good mood, especially me. I knew that the next day I was finally going to get a medal from this competition, and I felt like I had practiced hard enough to take a little break and enjoy my day off. At the beach, my friends spotted some tall rocks to dive from, but I didn’t want to participate. Even though I did all kinds of dangerous activities in my childhood, diving in an area that I didn’t know was just too risky. After inspecting the surroundings, one of my friends dove in and was fine. As he asked us to join him, we figured that since he dove without any problems, so could we. We took turns jumping in, but after a while we got tired and decided to head home. Before we left, I told my friends that I would dive in one last time. And I did…