Who is James Cracknell? Double Olympic gold medallist and Strictly 2019 contestant

Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins have signed up double Olympic gold medallist James Cracknell OBE.

The star athlete was also part of Strictly Come Dancing 2019 but was first to be booted from the show – but what else do we know about the talented rower?

Who was James Cracknell's 2019 Strictly Come Dancing partner?

James was partnered with Luba Mushtukm, making him her first celebrity pairing since joining the show.

The Olympian was delighted when Luba was announced as his partner, with the two sharing a hug moments after.

Of starring on the show, he said: "The biggest challenge for me is allowing myself to look stupid and fail, letting myself off the leash."

On 29 September 2019, he was the first contestant to be given the boot from the show after failing to wow the judges in a dance-off with former England goalie David James, 49, and Nadiya Bychkova, 30.

James, 47, had been panned by the judges for his wooden dance moves during the first two weeks of the series and his last dance – the jive – earned him just 13 points on the night.

Why is James Cracknell famous?

Cracknell won gold for team GB at the 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games.

The 2000 games in Sydney saw Cracknell, Steve Redgrave, Tim Foster and Matthew Pinsent cross the line ahead of the Italians in the coxless fours.

They held on to their title in the Athens 2004 Olympics with Cracknell and Pinsent being joined by Ed Goode and Steve Williams.

They beat World Champions Canada by just 0.8 seconds.

In 2006, together with Ben Fogle, Cracknell rowed the Atlantic in 49 days, 19 hours and 8 minutes.

The pair wrote a book, The Crossing: Conquering the Atlantic in the World's Toughest Rowing Race, and featured in the BBC Two film Through Hell and High Water.

The same year, Cracknell ran the London Marathon in a time of three hours, finishing over an hour ahead of his rowing team mate Matthew Pinsent.

BBC viewers can enjoy his commentary and analysis during rowing events.

In 2018 he took part in Celebrity Island with Bear Grylls and lasted until the end.

How many other medals does James Cracknell have?

Cracknell has six World Rowing Championship gold medals.

He nabbed three in the coxless four crew in 1997, 1998 and 1994.

He also won gold in the coxless pair in 2001 and 2002.

Plus he rowed to gold in the coxed pair in 2001.

Is James Cracknell still married?

Cracknell married Beverley in 2002 and the couple have three children, Croyde, Kiki and Trixie.

The pair met in 2000 after James won his first Olympic gold.

They ended up as team-mates on the celebrity special of Channel 5 game show, The Desert Forges.

Their relationship was put under much strain after his brain injury in 2010.

Beverley said the three years after the crash were the “worst” and added that she was married to two different men, one for eight years before the crash and one for the eight years after the incident.

The couple announced in March 2019 that they had separated after 17 years of marriage.

The pair said in a statement: “We can confirm that sadly we separated last year. Together, we remain committed to our amazing children, they are our absolute priority.”

When did James Cracknell suffer a brain injury?

In July 2010 Cracknell was hit from behind in Arizona by a petrol tanker while cycling during an attempt to cycle, row, run and swim from Los Angeles to New York within 18 days.

His cycle helmet was "shorn in two" and he suffered a contrecoup injury to the frontal lobes of his brain. His recovery may never be complete.

In 2012 Cracknell and his wife, TV and radio presenter Beverley Turner, wrote "Touching Distance" about his life before and after his brain injury, which has left him with epilepsy and a changed personality – including a short temper.

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