Strictly Come Dancing 2016 contestants: Claudia Fragapane
Age: 18 (she’s the youngest in this year’s competition)
Height: Just 4 ft 7 (often nicknamed “pocket rocket”)
Famous for: Olympic gymnast, most recently competing in Rio
Who is her professional partner?
Claudia was paired with new pro AJ Pritchard – who in 2013 made it to the semi-finals of Britain’s Got Talent with dance parter and fellow Strictly pro Chloe Hewitt.
Who is Claudia Fragapane?
Claudia’s first title taste of success came back in 2011 when she picked up a bronze medal for the vault at the Junior British Championships.
But it was 2014 when she made her name on the global stage, beginning with a team silver medal at the European Championships before winning an historic four gold medals in the Commonwealth Games.
Since then she’s continued to make the podium in international competitions, landing a floor silver at the 2015 European Championships and a team bronze at the World Championships later that year.
She competed with Amy Tinkler, Ruby Harrold and sisters Rebecca and Ellie Downie in the team all-around event in Rio as well as taking on the uneven bars, beam, vault, floor exercise and individual all-around.
Fragapane insists her gymnastics experience won’t help her on the dance floor.
“If I make a mistake I cover it up – it’s kind of hard to do that when you’re with a partner,” she explained. “I find it difficult being that close to someone, looking them in the eye. I’ll probably start laughing!”
Why is Claudia Fragapane doing Strictly Come Dancing?
We spoke to Claudia ahead of the first live show to find out…
Why are you doing Strictly? In my floor routines I stick to one dancing technique and it’s very stiff, so Strictly will hopefully help me with that.
Does your gymnastics give you an advantage? Perhaps, but I’ve been doing the same floor routine for ages, I only change it once every two years, so a different dance every week is going to be pretty crazy. Dancing in heels is also hard.
What were the Rio Olympics like? Rio was incredible. It was amazing to be among all the best gymnasts and athletes in the world! I was in an elevator with Mo Farah!
And the tight dresses and sparkles? I normally wear a leotard that goes up my bum, so this is modest!