James Cracknell opens up on Strictly experience after denying backstage rant on It Takes Two

The Olympic rower was the first celebrity to crash out of Strictly Come Dancing on Sunday night

James Cracknell It takes Two (BBC Screenshot)

James Cracknell has opened up about his experience on Strictly Come Dancing, saying he would have been voted out in week three if the judges had saved him on Sunday.

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The Olympic rower lost the dance-off against David James on Sunday night’s elimination show, with the judges voting unanimously to save James.

“I was still struggling to grasp the dance, then Thursday, Friday, I started to enjoy it,” he told It Takes Two host Rylan Clark-Neal. “Luba [Mushtuk, Cracknell’s professional partner] chipped away at the inner dancer who’d be hidden away for 40 odd years. Even if I’d not gone out this week, I’d have gone out next week.

“But maybe the steps would have come in week three. It took me 10 years since I started rowing to win a rowing race – in Strictly 2029 I’d have nailed it!”

Cracknell also revealed that he decided to sign up to Strictly to change perceptions regarding serious injury, after he nearly died when he was hit by a truck in 2012.

“One of the reasons why I did it was perceptions of what you can do after a pretty serious accident are limiting, and if you listen to them about whatever it’s for, you’re only ever going to hit that ceiling,” he said.

“Part of it was being afraid to look stupid and then Luba saying no, just go for it!”

Cracknell’s appearance on Strictly’s sister show comes after he was forced to deny reports he had ranted backstage about wishing he’d never done the show.

“I don’t reply to people’s comments but I’m not gonna let this one go,” he wrote on Twitter.

“Luba and I had fun and our best dance but it wasn’t enough. I know I’m no John Travolta so to throw my toys out the pram would be stupid.”

He added to RadioTimes.com: “I’ve just been making sure I enjoy it. The whole week’s been fun, and if that’s not good enough, then it’s not good enough.”

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Strictly Come Dancing continues Saturdays and Sundays on BBC One. Strictly – It Takes Two continues weekdays on BBC One.