This year, marks two big milestones for the Dancing On Ice 2020, with both the first same-sex couple and the first blind contestant: Libby Clegg.
The 29-year-old has said she is this year’s “dark horse” of the competition, with her deteriorating eye-condition making training on the ice even more difficult.
A gold-medal-winning Paralympian sprinter, Clegg isn’t used to coming second best – and judging by her performances, she’s set to go just as far on Dancing on Ice…
Here’s everything you need to know about her…
Known for: Paralympic athlete
Professional dance partner: Mark Hanretty
Who is Libby Clegg?
Libby Clegg is a sprinter who has represented Team GB at several international athletics competitions including three different Paralympic Games.
Clegg suffers from a deteriorating eye condition called Stargardt’s Muscular Dystrophy, severely reducing her peripheral vision in her left eye and making her legally blind.
However, this hasn’t stopped her from becoming a leader in sport, starting out at the IPC World Championships before stepping up to the all-important Paralympic Games.
She represented Team GB at both Beijing 2008 and London 2012, winning silver medals at both for the 100m sprint, before returning for Rio 2016 where she excelled with two gold medals for the 100m and 200m.
Mere months later, she was recognised with an MBE for her contributions to athletics and charity.
After taking a break from athletics to look after her health and give birth to her first son, Clegg is now back in training and hoping to compete at next summer’s Paralympics in Tokyo.
What has Libby Clegg said about Dancing On Ice?
Clegg’s decision to join Dancing On Ice so close to the start of Tokyo 2020 has been questioned, especially after fellow athlete Will Bayley sustained an injury on Strictly Come Dancing that could jeopardise his own Paralympic chances.
In an interview with The Telegraph, Clegg spoke candidly about how British Athletics coach Paula Dunn responded to the news: “Paula expressed it’s really not the best year to do it and I completely agree with her, but these opportunities don’t come around very often. I felt like if I didn’t take it I’d regret not doing it.
Lucas Uebel/Getty Images
“I weighed up the options and it gives me an opportunity to get myself in front of a different audience and open other doors for me. I’ve got a son now so I need to think about financially making the most of situations.”
She went on to explain that her lack of vision actually makes the spins easier for her than for some of the fully-sighted contestants, as she doesn’t get dizzy.
Clegg added: “I’m not going to be as bad as you think. I won’t be the first person out.”
She isn’t quite as active on social media as some of this year’s other contestants, but a recent Instagram photo does offer a sneak peek of Clegg with a post-training treat in Nottingham.
Dancing On Ice continues Sundays on ITV