Olympians Victoria Pendleton and Louis Smith set to join Strictly Come Dancing
10:26 10 September 2012
PA Wire/Press Association Images
Olympians Victoria Pendleton and Louis Smith are set to take on their next challenge - doing the cha cha cha on Strictly Come Dancing.
Gold-medal winning cyclist Pendleton, 31, who retired from the sport after the London Games, had made no secret of her desire to take part in the BBC1 ballroom dancing contest.
Gymnast Smith won the silver medal in the pommel horse event and the bronze in the team event - Britain’s first male gymnastics medal in a century. The 23-year-old has hinted that he will not compete in Rio 2016 and has already appeared on a previous series of The X Factor.
Also expected to take to the dancefloor is fellow sportsman, former cricket captain Michael Vaughan, 37. Cricketers have proved successful on previous series, with both Darren Gough and Mark Ramprakash winning the title of Strictly Come Dancing champion.
Girls Aloud singer Kimberley Walsh, who appeared as Princess Fiona in the West End production Shrek the Musical, has already been announced as one of this year’s 14 contestants. The 30-year-old tweeted a picture of herself practising with professional dancer Anton du Beke but reassured fans she was not revealing who her partner will be.
Walsh has been keeping her followers on Twitter up to date with her antics preparing for Strictly. She tweeted: “Rehearsals have been so much fun but ouch ouch ouch! #scd”.
Other stars confirmed for this series of the competition include Westlife’s Nicky Byrne, Daybreak presenter Richard Arnold and actress Dani Harmer.
Former children’s TV host Johnny Ball is expected to join them - the oldest competitor at the age of 74 - alongside model Jerry Hall and actor Sid Owen, best known for appearing as Ricky Butcher in EastEnders.
They are set to be joined by presenter Fern Britton, who participated in the Strictly Christmas special in 2010 and former Emmerdale actress Lisa Riley.
James Bond actor Colin Salmon and actress and singer Denise Van Outen are set to complete the line-up.
All of the contestants hid behind Sir Bruce Forsyth masks when they arrived at a south London dance studio for rehearsals this weekend.
The launch show is to be broadcast on BBC1 this Saturday, when the celebrities’ dance partners will be announced.