James Cracknell OBE is the fourteenth celebrity contestant confirmed for Strictly Come Dancing 2019

James Cracknell OBE
James Cracknell OBE. Photo: BBC

Former rowing World Champion James Cracknell OBE has been named as the penultimate contestant for the 2019 series of Strictly Come Dancing.

The 17th series of the NTA and Bafta award-winning entertainment show produced by BBC Studios will return in the autumn on BBC One putting the sparkle back into Saturday and Sunday nights.

James says: “I’m really looking forward to being a part of Strictly this year. Having spent so many years mucking around in a rowing boat with big men in tight lycra, it’s time I learned a new skill. I need to apologise to my kids in advance for the embarrassment.”

A former rowing World Champion and double Olympic Gold Medallist, James won Olympic Gold in both the 2000 Sydney Games alongside Steve Redgrave & Matthew Pinsent and the 2004 Athens Games.

Since retiring James has carried out dangerous and gruelling challenges including The Race Across the Atlantic, where he and Ben Fogle finished first, and the Yukon Arctic Ultra, cycling over 430 miles in the race across the frozen Alaskan countryside becoming the highest placed Briton ever finishing 12th.

In 2010, James attempted to cross America by cycling, running, rowing and swimming in record time. It was during this trip that James suffered a near fatal accident after being struck from behind by a truck while cycling through Arizona. After a difficult six-month recovery period, James went to the Canadian Yukon, completing The Coldest Race on Earth.

James is the BBC’s commentator for Rowing, and was heavily involved in the coverage for the Rio Olympics in 2016. He has more recently become the oldest ever Boat Race champion at 46 as part of Cambridge University’s crew as they rowed to victory at the 165th Boat Race. He has also just finished studying for his Masters in Philosophy from Cambridge University.

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