james cracknell strictly

James Cracknell reveals brain injury has made Strictly training difficult

The Olympic rower has been paired with Luba Mushtuk

Sharnaz Shahid

James Cracknell has been working hard with his Strictly Come Dancing partner Luba Mushtuk ahead of their first dance together on Saturday. However, training hasn't been all that easy due to his accident in 2010, which left the double Olympic gold medallist with serious head injuries. Appearing on Wednesday's This Morning, the 47-year-old explained: "Especially with an injury in the head that people can't see, it's not like a broken leg or an arm that's in a cast... From my eyes the world was normal, but other people were treating me differently.

James Cracknell opened up about his injury on This Morning

"And then you feel, maybe through lack of knowledge, that they're judging you. And actually doing something you've never done before and be judged by people is a really scary thing to put yourself into." He suffered brain injuries when he was hit by a lorry on a cycle ride in the US. On the accident changing his personality, James explained: "You almost back off social interaction. It makes you think 'Is this behaviour me or is this the accident?'" To which, Luba added: "By knowing his story and what he has achieved, it is extraordinary."

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This weekend, the pair will dance the tango to Spandau Ballet's iconic song Gold. James went on to reveal why he was taking part in the famous dancing contest, saying: "I guess it's being a sportsperson in the past, you know what you're good at and you just stick to that. You don't show any weakness. Whereas actually doing something that you're bad at and throwing yourself into it is a totally new experience." He continued: "I'm just getting over that bar of letting stuff go and really learning. I think we all limit ourselves, we're afraid to put ourselves out there."

He has been teamed up with Luba Mushtuk

Even though the competition is officially yet to start, James has revealed he goes home thinking about the steps – and sometimes even in his dreams! "We're putting in the hours and so far he’s doing good… I'm going to do my best," commented Luba, while James replied: "You've done it for so many hours, but in your head you just can't absorb any more information… In my dreams, I hear, 'Posture, shoulders, elbows, rhythm.'"

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The sportsman then revealed he wants to get through to week three as by then his son will have turned 16 and will be of the minimum age allowed into the studio to watch the show live. James' new girlfriend, Jordan Cornell, will also be back from New York by then so she too can join him in the studio.

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