James Cracknell has claimed he had to undergo more psychological tests than his fellow celebrity contestants in order to take part in Strictly Come Dancing.
The double Olympic gold medallist is reported to have told a tabloid that TV bosses feared the 47-year-old may struggle with the commitment required for the series after he suffered a devastating injury nearly a decade ago.
Rowing champ James was left with epilepsy after a truck smashed into him in 2010 as he was cycling across the US as part of a mammoth challenge to bike, row, run and swim from the west coast to the east.
His brain injury is also reported to have changed elements of his personality, including his temper.
According to the Mail’s website, producers were also concerned the gruelling training schedule and comments from judges such as Craig Revel Horwood may take their toll on the world class athlete.
James – partnered with pro Luba Mushtuk for the series – is reported to understand why he had to come under closer examination for the series.
He is quoted as saying: “I had to have more tests because of my injury. They wanted to make sure that I was OK to go on.
“They had to check I was well enough and able to cope with the hours that are required to take part, and also that I would be mentally strong enough to deal with the judges who, let’s face it, would have no choice but to judge me fairly and that might not always be nice.
“I know I was tested more psychologically than some others, which I am grateful to Strictly for.”
A Strictly representative declined to comment to ED!.
James recently explained his concerns around rehearsals possibly inducing fits.
“Some people get epilepsy from strobe lighting but not me. I don’t want to worry Luba but mine is set off by fatigue,” he told The Sun.
“When I’ve had a seizure it’s been because of not sleeping.
“Epilepsy comes with a bit of a stigma. One of the drawbacks is that it’s a hidden disability. I think it’s important for anyone who has a profile to get other people to understand it.”
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