Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 12 July 2014

Olympians taking to Strictly floor

Team GB Olympic gymnast Louis Smith will compete on Strictly Come Dancing

Olympic stars Victoria Pendleton and Louis Smith are set to take on their next challenge - doing the cha cha cha on Strictly Come Dancing.

Gold-medal winning cyclist Victoria, 31, who retired from the sport after the London Games, had made no secret of her desire to take part in the BBC One ballroom dancing contest.

Victoria's agent confirmed her involvement in the show on Twitter.

The message said: "@v_pendleton IS doing Strictly - pretty exciting and no doubt she'll work at it to become a very good dancer. That's what athletes do."

Louis, who won the silver medal in the pommel horse event and has hinted that he will not compete in Rio 2016, has already appeared on a previous series of The X Factor.

Fellow sportsman Michael Vaughan is expected to take to the dancefloor alongside the 23-year-old gymnast. The 37-year-old former cricket captain would follow in the footsteps of cricketers Darren Gough and Mark Ramprakash, who have previously won Strictly.

It has already been announced that Girls Aloud singer Kimberley Walsh is one of this year's 14 contestants. Other stars confirmed include Westlife's Nicky Byrne, Daybreak presenter Richard Arnold and actress Dani Harmer.

Former children's TV host Johnny Ball is expected to join them - the oldest competitor at the age of 74 - alongside model Jerry Hall and actor Sid Owen, best known for appearing as Ricky Butcher in EastEnders. They are set to be joined by presenter Fern Britton, who participated in the Strictly Christmas special in 2010 and former Emmerdale actress Lisa Riley. James Bond actor Colin Salmon and actress and singer Denise Van Outen are set to complete the line-up.

All of the contestants hid behind Sir Bruce Forsyth masks when they arrived at a south London dance studio for rehearsals this weekend.

The launch show is to be broadcast on BBC One on Saturday, when the celebrities' dance partners will be announced.

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