Ellie Simmonds says she is excited about taking part in this year’s Strictly Come Dancing, especially being the first person with dwarfism to compete.
The five-time Paralympic gold medal winning swimmer, 27, is looking forward to representing people with disabilities as she prepares to follow in the footsteps of deaf EastEnders actress Rose Ayling-Ellis, who won last year’s series alongside professional dancer Giovani Pernice.
“I’ll be so, so nervous, and I will try not to think of all the people watching,” Simmonds told the Mirror while attending the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham on Sunday.
“I am the first dwarf doing the show, I will show how positive that is, that to be different is OK. It is a real honour.”
She also admitted having to keep the fact that she had been chosen for the latest series a secret for quite some time.
“I told my other half Matt, and my parents, but I only told my sister this morning. It is a family tradition to watch it every year,” she told the publication.
“To be part of it is so exciting. It’ll be great to swap the goggles and the hat for the sequins and the make-up.”
This year marks Strictly’s 20th anniversary which will return to BBC One in the autumn hosted by Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman.
The full line-up of celebrities taking part has yet to be announced.
In addition to Simmonds, other contestants so far confirmed include Bros singer Matt Goss, Kiss FM DJ Tyler West, comedian Jayde Adams, Loose Women presenter Kaye Adams, Radio 2 host Richie Anderson, Hear’Say singer and soap star Kym Marsh, and former Hollyoaks actor Will Mellor.