Jonnie Peacock has been eliminated from Strictly Come Dancing.
The Paralympic champion said it had been “an absolute honour” to be the first disabled person to compete on the show as he said goodbye after a dance-off against Debbie McGee.
He thanked everyone for “treating him as an equal” after he lost out to the former magician’s assistant at Blackpool’s famous Tower Ballroom.
The judges voted unanimously to save Debbie from the axe, leaving Jonnie to say goodbye.
He said: “I think it’s been an absolute honour to be the first disabled person and I want to thank each and every one of you for judging me as an equal. That’s what I want.
“You’ve been critical with me and I want that criticism; and I think that’s fantastic and hope it paves the way for more people to come through and I think they may be able to stick their bum under a bit better than me.”
Turning to professional partner Oti, he added: “I need to say an absolutely gigantic thank you to this woman for pushing me because she knows what I’m capable of.
“Her choreography has been has been outstanding, and for putting up with me, pinching me, biting me – thank you so much.”
Oti added: “This has been one of the most life changing things that could ever happen to me. Jonnie is not only an inspiration but he represents so much more.
“If anybody wants to do anything, if you put your mind to it then you can achieve it and that’s what he represents.”
Viewers were upset at the loss of athlete and took to social media to share their disappointment.
One wrote: “For me #Jonnie won the dance off, #debbie had a few blatant mistakes #strictly”
Another said: “Poor Jonnie. All the remaining dancers are good but he and Debbie were not the worse dancers by a long way and should not have been in the dance off. #Strictly.”