Strictly's Greg Rutherford reveals he had a meltdown: 'I nearly quit'

He's an Olympic gold medallist with a plethora of medals under his belt, but Greg Rutherford has revealed he nearly quit Strictly Come Dancing.

The professional long jumper felt so out of his depth at the first group rehearsal, and so intimidated by his fellow contestants who were making faster progress.

"I had a complete meltdown," Greg, 29, told The Sun. "Everyone else was doing so great, picking everything up. You talk to the other guys about how hard you're finding it and they're like, 'Yeah, I've never done anything like this before.' Then you find out they went to stage school."


"Everyone is so good, so it does worry me," said Greg Rutherford

He added: "I'm like, 'So you have done something like this before.' I've just jumped into some sand in a straight line, not even a zig-zag. I'm coming at this from zero experience."

Of his fellow contestants, Greg said: "Melvin (Odoom) was a dance teacher, Danny (Mac) was in the West End and Will (Young) has all these dance classes. Everyone is so good, so it does worry me."

"We laugh loads in training and I'm so glad we got partnered together," said the long jumper

With the help of his girlfriend Susie Verrill and his professional dance partner Natalie Lowe, Greg is feeling more confident and ready to take to the dancefloor for this weekend's show.

"Natalie found me hiding in another room and literally hauled me back to the dance class," said Greg. "We laugh loads in training and I'm so glad we got partnered together."

"My girlfriend, who has a dance background, watched a clip of some steps I had to learn and by the time I got home she had memorised them perfectly and gave me a masterclass," he added. "Luckily, I'm a lot better now. It's been so much fun since that first absolutely terrible day."

Greg and his girlfriend Susie Verrill

Greg has been sharing posts of his Strictly adventure on Instagram. One clip showed the sportsman impressively leaping over Natalie, which Greg captioned: "I knew jumping would be useful for something one day..."

He also praised his dance partner in another photo, writing: "We've put a hell of a lot into this dance, I hope I can do Natalie justice. Poor girls had to put up with my mug 9 hours a day. She deserves a medal."

I knew jumping would be useful for something one day... @bbcstrictly #Gregalie
A video posted by Greg Rutherford (@gregjrutherford) on