Boxer Adams to appear in Strictly's first same-sex dancing couple

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by Simon Austin
Nicola Adams

Olympic gold medallist Nicola Adams is to appear on this year’s Strictly Come Dancing in the show’s first same-sex competing couple.

The former professional boxer, who was born and grew up in Leeds, will pair up with a female dance partner in the series, which starts on BBC One next month. 

The 37-year-old won gold at the London 2012 Olympics and again at Rio 2016, before retiring from the sport last year. She was awarded an OBE for services to boxing in 2017 and has been hailed as an LGBT role-model.

Last year the BBC said it was “completely open” to having same-sex couples compete on Strictly, which has been running for 16 years. This was a major change from previous years, when the broadcaster had said it did not plan to change the mixed-sex format.

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Adams told BBC Breakfast (above) that she was the one who had suggested having a female partner when producers asked her to take part.

"I think it's really important," she said. "It's definitely time for change. It's definitely time to move on and be more diverse, and this is a brilliant step in the right direction.

"It will be nice for the LGBT community to be able to see there are same-sex couples on the show as well."

The former boxer said she did not mind who she was paired up with, but added: "I'd only be wanting somebody who's maybe a little bit on the short side because I'm a little bit small."

Last year there was a same-sex dance routine on Strictly, which was praised on social media but drew almost 200 complaints. Adams joins the first three officially-confirmed names on this year’s show: former Men Behaving Badly actress Caroline Quentin, ex American football star Jason Bell and The Wanted singer Max George.

This year’s series will be shorter because of coronavirus precautions and Bruno Tonioli will be missing from the judging panel for Saturday nights because he is also on the panel for the US version of the show, Dancing With The Stars.

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