Olympic champion Adam Peaty is swapping swimming strokes for ballroom moves as he joins the celebrity line-up for Strictly Come Dancing.
The sports star won two golds and a silver at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, and also made history as the first British swimmer to retain an Olympic title after claiming victory in the men’s 100 metres breaststroke with a time of 57.37 seconds, the fifth fastest time in the event’s history.
The 26-year-old is the thirteenth contestant to join the line-up of the BBC One series.
He said: “I think this will come as a surprise to a lot of people, but I’m so excited to finally share the news that I’ll be joining Strictly this year. I’m really looking forward to doing something totally different and challenging myself away from the pool. I’m hoping my competitive nature is going to compensate for my dancing abilities!”
Peaty is an eight-time world champion, a 16-time European champion and a three-time Commonwealth champion and following his Olympic success announced he would be taking a short break from the pool and will miss the upcoming International Swimming League starting at the end of this month.
He is joining an already star-studded group of celebrities for Strictly in a line-up which has a few firsts including EastEnders actress Rose Ayling-Ellis, who will be the first ever deaf contestant to appear in the series.
The actress, who has played Frankie Lewis in EastEnders since 2020, said: “It is the hardest secret I have ever had to keep so it feels amazing to finally have this out in the open.
“I hope I will do the deaf community proud and break down more barriers. But I am also very excited to learn an incredible new skill and even better I get to learn whilst wearing beautiful dresses made especially for me.”
Former Bake Off winner John Whaite will be taking to the dance floor in another first for Strictly as one half of an all-male pairing.
The chef and cookery author said: “I’ve been wearing sequins and jazzy attire since I was three years old and can’t wait to hurl myself, full throttle, around the most glamorous dance floor on earth.
“What’s more exciting for me is that I’m going to be one half of the first all-male partnership, which is a great step forward in representation and inclusion. Whoever it is I’m paired with, I hope they are up for a challenge as I want our routines to include lots of spectacular lifts!”
Also taking part is EastEnders actress Nina Wadia and she joins TV presenter AJ Odudu, Peep Show’s Robert Webb, McFly star Tom Fletcher, Dragons’ Den investor Sara Davies, Coronation Street star Katie McGlynn, BBC Breakfast presenter Dan Walker, TV presenter Tilly Ramsay and actor Greg Wise.
News of Peaty’s Strictly signing was announced on Newsbeat on BBC Radio 1.