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Sunday 20th October 2019

Strictly Come Dancing fans defend James Cracknell after 'wooden' tango performance

Still a hero

The likes of Kelvin Fletcher and Karim Zeroual flew out of the blocks on the first live show in the new series of Strictly Come Dancing.

At the other end of the leader board, James Cracknell took a pounding from both the judges and some viewers at home.

But more understanding fans took to social media to defend the Olympic rowing legend.

Read more: Strictly Come Dancing fans divided over Saffron Barker's seven scores as dad weeps with pride in the audience

Performing the tango with partner Luba Mushtuk, James, 47, was urged by the judges to open up, entertain more and improve his posture.

Craig said he was "hunched".

Despite Shirley's encouraging words praising him for inspiring men at home to have a go at dancing, the judges gave him a collective score of 11.

That placed him and Luba rock bottom of the leader board.

And, as he and his pro partner walked up the steps towards Claudia, he appeared to wipe away a tear after the harsh criticism.

James appeared to wipe away a tear (Credit: BBC)

Twitter users were quick to make cruel jokes about his dancing style, with the hashtag #jamescracknelllurch beginning to trend.

James Cracknell was frankly wooden.

One user said: "James Cracknell was frankly wooden."

But many other fans took to Twitter to defend him.

And not everyone was out to mock him.

Many fans took to Twitter to defend him, citing his recent brain injury for his difficulties and praising his courage.

Read more: Strictly Come Dancing fans thrilled with Jamie Laing's comeback

In July 2010, James was hit from behind by a petrol tanker while he was attempting a challenge to cycle, run, row and swim from Los Angeles to New York in 18 days.

He suffered an injury to the frontal lobes of his brain, which he has said left him with a changed personality, epilepsy and a short temper.

On a recent episode of This Morning he explained that a brain injury is a lot different to a normal injury on the body.

"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 whereas other people treated me differently," he said.

"Doing something you've never done before and then being judged is actually quite a scary thing to put yourself through," he told hosts Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby.

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