Five-time Olympic champion Sir Steve Redgrave has signed up to take part in Channel 4's latest reality show, The Jump. But, as he readies himself to take on a variety of winter sport challenges, Redgrave is clear on one thing - this is a sporting competition and he means business.
“Reality TV shows aren’t real reality. They’re all make believe in some way. Locked up in a house, or stuck in the jungle… this is real reality. Anyone, if they really wanted to, could go ski jumping. They’re proper sports. The reason I signed up is I enjoy the winter games and winter sports, and I wanted to push myself to do something I would have always liked to have done but never had the bottle to do.
“Yes, it’s reality TV, but it’s more real than being locked up in a house with no one from the real world. What’s real about that?” Redgrave tells RadioTimes.com.
So no chance of a Big Brother appearance?
“If you ever see it, the bank manager made me do it,” Redgrave affirms.
The five-time Olympic gold medal-winning rower is already pretty comfortable on a pair of skis, being a level 1 BASI ski instructor. This means Steve can teach people on snow domes and dry slopes. The other celebrities reveals he’s been quite handy on the slopes, taking the time to help them learn the basics.
“Steve’s like our extra coach,” Sinitta notes.
“I might have been helping, but I’ve been giving them all the wrong information,” Redgrave teases.
A clear advantage it would seem. But Redgrave’s not used to his skis leaving the snow.
“With my skis on the snow I will go down almost anything. But that point that skis go in the air… I’m not comfortable at all. But when you’re on a programme called The Jump that may happen at one point,” Redgrave laughs.
But his sportsman determination is certainly there. His opening words being, “No disrespect, but when you b****r off we can get out there and do some skiing.”
So it comes as a bit of a surprise when he confesses that he’s not even thinking about taking on the biggest jump, the top reaching a knee-wobbling 40 meters.
“When you look up there [he says of the three-tiered jump in Austria’s Innsbruck], there are three jumps up there. When I look, there’s only one. And I might go off that one today. The other two don’t exist.”
Whether he’s being serious, or holding his cards close to his chest remains to be seen.
The Jump runs for ten nights from January 26 on Channel 4 and is hosted by Davina McCall and Alex Brooker