Former Strictly Come Dancing pro Kevin Clifton has said that his dance background hasn’t helped as much as one might imagine while training for the new ITV show The Games.
The professional dancer is one of 12 celebrities who will compete in 10 track and field Olympic Games in a week of live programming starting Monday.
The 39-year-old said turning 40 in October was one of his motivations for taking up the challenge as he wants to strike his 40s “in the best shape of his life”.
Speaking on Good Morning Britain (GMB), Clifton said: “People keep saying to each event, ‘Oh, you’re a dancer, you’re going to be good at it’, but for most of them, the 400 metres. Doing or doing odds or something, I don’t know how much of that translates to dobble paso.
“So everybody is expecting big things but I think I’m better with a prop. So things like kayak, slalom, hammer.
“I’m not the best at it when it comes to just raw speed and power, but I’m not so bad when I find a support or partner or something.”
GMB guest presenter Martin Lewis suggested that the hammer throw should be a “perfect” event for a dancer because it requires balance, balance and timing.
Clifton said she found spinning and footwork “really easy,” but her dancing habits were getting in the way.
He told the show: “I keep doing this thing we call spotting in dancing where you keep turning and leaving your head in one place.
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“So instead of swinging around with a hammer, I’m trying to give you a flamboyant dance turn and I’m trying to break out of that habit.”
Clifton was a professional dancer on Strictly from 2013 to 2019, and won the competition in 2018 with documentary producer Stacy Dooley, who is now his girlfriend.
He’ll test his athletic ability against fellow celebs including ex-Love Islanders Wes Nelson and Olivia Atwood, former Coronation Street star Ryan Thomas and Harry Potter actor Josh Hurdman.
Model and autism ambassador Christine McGuinness, The Wanted star Max George, Emmerdale actor Rebecca Sarkar, footballer and singer-songwriter Chelsea Grimes, Corey actor Colson Smith, ITV newsreader Lucrezia Millerini, and Spice Girl Mel B, Phoenix Brown’s influencer, model and daughter Will compete.
Celebrities will compete in events including diving, cycling, running and weightlifting, each trying to score enough points to top the medal table and be crowned champions of the Games 2022.
Clifton said he enjoyed his 30s and that in terms of dancing, he did everything he wanted to do and was looking forward to a new challenge in his 40s.
— The Games (@TheGamesTV) 8 May 2022
The dancer continued: “I didn’t want to hit 40 and go, ‘Oh, I’ve done everything, it’s time to let everything go’.
“I thought, ‘No, maybe 40, I can attack this. Maybe 40s are good too’.
“So yeah, I thought I wanted to attack 40 in the best shape of my life and the sport is a great opportunity to do that.”
Clifton said he was one of the celebrities on the show jumping into wheeled cans of ice at the end of athletics training.
He admitted that it was “terrible”, but the group became competitive to see who could last the longest, given that his record was seven minutes.
The games begin May 9th at 9 p.m. on ITV.