Gareth Thomas forced to leave Dancing on Ice as skate-off is cancelled

Illness stops rugby star reaching the final - medics confirm nausea, dizziness and memory loss mean he is unable to continue

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Gareth Thomas has been forced to leave the Dancing on Ice competition due to concerns over his health. Show host Phillip Schofield confirmed that healthcare professionals have deemed Gareth unfit to continue to skate in the competition, meaning the skate-off was cancelled, and Gareth’s fight to make it into the final is over.

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It was a tough week in general for all of the celebrities who’d had to tackle two skates as part of ‘flying week’ – one, a regular skate with their partner, and another performance attached to a harness which saw them raised several feet above the rink, performing somersaults and poses. Beth Tweddle even carried the weight of her partner Dan Whiston whilst flying through the air, while both Matt Lapinskas and Luke Campbell lifted their partners, who weren’t attached at all, up above the ice.

A devastated Robin, Gareth’s pro-skater partner, said Gareth was gutted he couldn’t continue, but said she’d even had to remind him of their performance earlier in the night.

This means that by default the remaining celebrities Beth Tweddle, Matt Lapinskas and Luke Campbell have made it in into the final – news slightly jarred by Gareth’s forced absence. All of the finalists performed their save me performances in the absence of the regular allotted space for votes and the skate-off show, with Matt adding, “We are skating for Gareth now.”

During training Matt and Brianne somewhat ironically sported matching ‘sick’ t-shirts, but it was poor Gareth who was left doing all of the vomiting, struggling all week with severe motion sickness, as well as being afraid of heights. Literally having to lower the harness so that he could vomit in a bin on the ice during training, Gareth went on to struggle through his first live performance and then, following medical advice, was unable to perform his aerial act.

According to Phillip Schofield, who ushered him off when realising how ill he seemed, Gareth also couldn’t remember performing the act in rehearsal and could visibly be seen swaying.

Olympic champ Jayne Torvill explained that for most skaters it’s tough at the beginning of the week – Luke Campbell and Beth Tweddle could also been seen struggling – but that it usually gets better by the end of the week. For Gareth, whom Christopher Dean described as a jumbo jet flying through the air, this just wasn’t the case.

The drama-filled show was preceded by an action-packed week for the celebs, as “flying week” caused a lot of upset (and a lot of calls for motion sickness pills) among the celebs. While Gareth immediately suffered with nausea from being elevated above the rink, it was a week of triumphs for Matt, as he stormed to the head of the leader board with two top-scoring performances.

It’s been a rocky week off the rink for former Eastenders star Matt. Not only was he strapped into a harness for around 80% of the week, describing it as a “nut cracker”, the actor’s girlfriend Shona McGarty confirmed on Twitter that the pair have split after 18 months together. Shona was quick to dismiss claims it had anything to do with Matt’s relationship with skating partner Brianne Delcourt, who Matt said has become one of his best friends on the show.

Away from what’s quickly becoming known as the “ice curse”, after relationship drama has followed Samia Ghadie, Beth Tweddle and now Matt to the rink, Matt and Brianne certainly had a lot to celebrate on the ice. Two scores of 39 (out of 40) for both their flying and regular performances earned them top spot on the leader board again. Jason Gardiner, who went on record to say he hates watching male celebs perform with a harness, said it was the best male flying celeb act they’ve ever had on the show, with Robin Cousins agreeing that it was seamless from beginning to end.

Matt and Brianne followed this up with a super-raunchy performance to Michael Jackson’s Bad, which bagged the first 10 of the night from Jason. Jason said, “We really needed that – you got right into the character, it was the whole package.” Talking of packages, judge Ashley Roberts joked, “It was hot and spicy, there was a little crotch-grabbing, it was nice.” Family show guys, family show.

Beth Tweddle was back in Jason’s bad books after her first performance. He rather harshly told her that she appeared to be “dead behind the eyes”, almost (almost!) shocking Phillip into silence. But, as the only female performing the aerial act, as well being the only celebrity skater not to have been in a skate-off, Beth pulled it out the bag in her second performance to Angels. Jason said, “You really came into your own, thank you! It was honest, sincere and emotive – I felt the emotion.” Beth’s partner Dan Whiston concurred, adding: “We really got lost in the moment.” Phillip, bringing them back down to earth coughed, “Yeah? We got lost in the dry ice.” Nice one Phil, way to let them enjoy Jason’s nice comments.

Judge and coach Karen Barber attempted to squash all Jason’s attempts to criticise performances, saying: “It’s harder to skate than it is to smile.”

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Anyway, while we hope Gareth gets better soon, the hunt for smiles and skating and dancing and performance and, well everything on ice, continues into the final showdown between Luke Campbell, Matt Lapinskas and Beth Tweddle next Sunday.