Monday, August 02, 2021



Diving. Gymnastics. Trampolining. BMX freestyle. In all these disciplines and more, athletes twist, upside-down, in mid-air. And thanks to multi camera 30 fps replays, at the Tokyo Olympics we have been able to follow the action like never before.

We’ve also been introduced to “the twisties,” the loss of sense of where the body is, in relation to the space around it, that can disorientate an athlete with potentially dangerous consequence, despite their training to do what they are attempting to do.

Living with dyspraxia, I sometimes have such blackout moments simply walking across a room. But the sudden and sometimes prolonged loss of orientation, especially when we are placed or place ourselves under pressure to perform, is something I think many of us may be able to relate to. Not, necessarily, in a physical sense, but in a loss of confidence in our ability to make sound judgements in a rapidly changing world, or simply a suddenly changed personal situation.

Whether you are a person of faith, or none, we all orientate ourselves according to some belief system, constructed by inheritance, nurture (whether embraced or rebelled against) and discipline (rehearsed day after day). And many of us find ourselves, at some inconvenient moment, having to deconstruct our orienting belief system, and build back from the floor.

The key to moving through space is not having both feet firmly on the ground—heels dug in—but being able to orientate ourselves in relation to the world. Temporarily losing that can be a gift, that reminds us, and others, that we (and others) are human. Finding it again is also a gift, reminding us of just how amazing humans are.


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