Dancing On Ice’s Libby speaks out about trolls – “People forget I’m an athlete”

The Dancing on Ice contestant reveals how she deals with the "keyboard warriors"

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: Libby Clegg during the Dancing On Ice 2019 photocall at ITV Studios on December 09, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Marsland/WireImage)

Paralympian Libby Clegg will take to ice for one last time, as she competes in the Dancing on Ice final with Joe Swash and Diversity’s Perri Kiely on Sunday.

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It’s been an exciting time and a great achievement for Libby, who has a deteriorating eye condition known as Stargardt’s Macular Dystrophy disease, giving her slight peripheral vision in her left eye.

But while she’s managed to take it all in her stride, it hasn’t been easy for her family and fiancé Dan Powell, who she has her 11-month-old son Edward with.

Last week, the 29-year-old  found herself in the skate-off against magician Ben Hanlin, which resulted in Ben being sent home.

What followed was lots of online backlash as some viewers labelled it a “fix”.

Speaking to RadioTimes.com and other press at the DOI studios, Libby insisted she doesn’t pay attention to the keyboard warriors.

She said: “Do you want the honest opinion? I don’t look at anything. I know it’s said but I just don’t look at anything because everyone’s going to have an opinion. I’m not really bothered.”

But the same can’t be said for her loved ones, who she says get very “emotional”.

She continued: “It’s been hard for my family. It’s been really upsetting. I think my family have seen how hard I’ve worked over years and how much of a struggle things have been, so when people are horrible about me online it really upsets them because they know it’s not true.

“They want to defend me, but then they don’t want to get involved in a social media battle.”

So, does Libby think a series catering for disabled contestants would help shed light on the situation?

“That would be really interesting because different disabilities affect people in different ways. For example, with people who have amputations, I think it would be interesting to see what different connections they try and use,” she said.

However, Libby was keen to add that she’s had years of training as a sprinter hence her level of fitness for the competition – which many people tend to forget about.

She continued: “I think for me, maybe the public forget that I’m an athlete and I’ve been coached my whole life. I’m not just a random blind person that’s never exercised before and just happen to be on the show and I think that makes a huge difference to the mentality.

“Maybe they’ll have to do like a Paralympic special. It’d be cool if they do it. Obviously if you’ve been coached you have more of a concept of movement even though skating is nothing like athletics.”

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The Dancing on Ice final is on Sunday at 6pm, only on ITV