Former rugby pro Ben Cohen has leapt his way to victory on Channel 4’s The Jump.
Cohen jumped a whopping 18.25m live in the final, seeing off hot competition from former Superman star Dean Cain who landed at 17.70m.
The sportsman – now nicknamed ‘Big Ben’ by former contestant Linford Christie – had a good final run, winning the Ultimate Ski Cross Course as well as one of the night’s two Snow Cross heats.
Cohen wasn’t actually part of the original contestant line-up, joining as one of several back-up contestants after a string of injuries. This included former Olympians Linford Christie, Rebecca Adlington and Beth Tweddle – the latter needing emergency surgery to fuse vertebrae in her neck after a crash in training.
Cohen’s own place in the show was at one time in doubt. A collision in ski jump rehearsals meant he needed twenty stitches in his lip. But he’s not the first reserve contestant to be victorious, late arrival Joe McElderry (who’d actually been on a skiing holiday nearby) took the win in 2014’s first series.
Presented with the winner’s cowbell trophy, host Davina McCall grinned: “Big Ben has got his bell!”
The bell comes courtesy of last year’s champ Joey Essex who, rather ironically for the injury-filled show, is in hospital. Although – as McCall insisted – it’s nothing to do with The Jump, he’s having his wisdom teeth out.
As for the rest of the finalists, singer Tom Parker’s 16.55m jump saw him take third place. Meanwhile, former EastEnders star Sid Owen took fourth place. But the actor leaves happy, an earlier jump-off saw him record the longest jump in the show’s history at 18.85m. Socialite Tamara Beckwith finished in fifth place.
It remains to be seen whether the winter sports-themed show will get a fourth series, sources telling us discussions are a way off yet. Either way, McCall and co were certainly having fun on this last night, this one of several cheeky jokes spotted by viewers…