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James Cracknell laughs off Strictly ‘curse’ as he signs up for hit dance show

JAMES CRACKNELL has signed up for Strictly Come Dancing — a year after his then wife was said to have banned him from the show.

The double Olympic gold medal-winning rower split from Beverley Turner last year.

TV presenter Turner, 45, was previously reported to have barred 47-year-old Cracknell from putting on his dancing shoes because of the so-called Strictly curse.

In action: Cracknell is more familiar with getting to grips with a pair of oars than going feet first onto a dance floor PICTURE: GETTY

Cracknell, who is no longer married, has now confirmed he will be taking part this year.

Asked about the reports of his ex-wife and the Strictly ‘curse’, Cracknell said it was ‘part that and partly she [Turner] felt very sorry for the dancer with broken feet!’

He told Good Morning Britain: ‘There’s only so much time with someone and you’ve only got so much time in your day. You do become slightly obsessed with it. Apparently I’ve got quite an addictive personality!’

Strictly ban: James Cracknell and then wife Beverley Turner attending the Pride of Britain Awards PICTURE: PA

The former rowing world champion said of his family’s response to him joining this year: ‘They’re really embarrassed for me!

‘Bev was supportive and the kids went “No”.’

‘My 15-year-old said “You’ve got to do some dad dancing”. That is my dancing!’

The protective clothing Cracknell has worn for rowing means he is not daunted by the Strictly wardrobe.

‘I’ve spent 15 years hanging around in Spandex. I’m OK! Costume is not a problem,’ he said.

Cracknell, who fractured his skull and suffered a brain injury in a cycling accident in 2010, admitted that he likes to be ‘in control’.

‘The biggest challenge for me is going to be giving myself permission to look stupid, fail,’ he told the ITV show.

The rower, who is 6ft 3in and has just handed in his thesis after studying for a philosophy degree, said: ‘I’ve started to stretch a bit. I’m not very flexible.’

The father-of-three joked: ‘Having spent so many years mucking around in a rowing boat with big men in tight Lycra, it’s time I learned a new skill. I need to apologise to my kids in advance for the embarrassment.’

Cracknell won rowing gold medals at the 2000 and 2004 Olympics, and earlier this year became the oldest university Boat Race winner.

This year’s Strictly line-up also includes former football star Alex Scott, Made In Chelsea’s Jamie Laing, RuPaul’s Drag Race star Michelle Visage and Paralympic champion Will Bayley.

The so-called Strictly curse has been blamed for the end of relationships of several stars taking part in the show.