Heather Mills says she wouldn’t have been knocked out of reality show The Jump last night if she hadn’t broken her prosthetic ski leg.
The Paralympian was able to borrow another leg – a stroke of luck; there aren’t many in the world – but says its weight and difference in size notably affected the distance she was able to record on the ski jump decider.
“I was jumping 14 or 15 meters consistently on the other leg,” Mills tells RadioTimes.com. She landed a 12m jump from the middle slope on the borrowed leg last night, but was just beaten by Lady Victoria Hervey who landed with a distance of 12.5m.
“If felt very heavy. If you imagine I strapped eight kilos to your leg and then threw you off the jump, you would actually be unbalanced and tip over,” said Mills.
“I would have definitely been in if I had the other leg, but that’s life.”
Mills says she’s pretty disappointed she didn’t opt to take on the highest jump, the K40, but reveals that getting permission to do the middle was a battle in itself.
“They tried to say it was impossible for me to do the middle jump. They said stick with the baby jump, because obviously they’re thinking about health and safety; nobody had ever had someone with one leg jump off.”
But with the backing of the coach, Mills was given the green light to go higher. “If I’d have known I was going out, I would have just gone straight to the top of the biggest jump. I wouldn’t have had a problem with that,” she says, admitting that she chose to stick to the middle because she was confident she’d out jump Lady Victoria.
“It wasn’t a good move and it didn’t work out”.
But Mills says she’s counting her blessings as the only contestant not to be injured on the show – and she has fellow competitor Jodie Kidd to thank for that.
“Jodie was holding me while I was trying to get my leg into the ski and onto the tracks of the jump and the whole leg collapsed. If she hadn’t had a hold of me, I would have just face-planted straight down. It’s one thing to fall on the snow, but people don’t fall on the tracks.”
Mills now joins the subs’ bench alongside Gogglebox’s Dom Parker, former cricketer Phil Tufnell and former Pussycat Doll Ashely Roberts and can be called back in if another competitor is injured, although she says the chances are “minimal”.
Instead of worrying about coming back in, the athlete says she’s focused on helping JLS’s JB brush up on his skiing technique.
“I’d like Mike Tindall to have someone to compete against among the men. There’s a big gap between the good skiers and the very average skiers. There was only really me, Mike, Louise Thompson and maybe Lady V that can really ski.
“JB’s now doing very well, so I’ll spend my time working on his technique to get him up there so that he’s at the top level.”
Mills thinks it’s still likely to be Tindall or Made In Chelsea’s Thompson who takes the win, but adds, “I’d like JB to win, it’d be brilliant.”
The Jump continues tonight at 8:00pm on Channel 4