Olympic star Peaty to swap trunks for dancing shoes

London (AFP) –


Britain's triple Olympic swimming champion Adam Peaty is to spend some of his mental health break from the sport donning his dancing shoes after agreeing to participate in BBC series Strictly Come Dancing it was announced on Friday.

The 26-year-old became the first British swimmer to successfully defend his Olympic title when he took gold in the 100 metres breaststroke in Tokyo last month.

He also won gold in the 4x100m mixed medley relay and silver in the men's 4x100m medley.

However, the world recordholder in both the 50m and 100m breaststroke said afterwards he would be taking a mental health break.

He explained he was taking a break "because I've been going extremely hard for as long as I can remember," and had "averaged 2 weeks off a year for the last 7 years."

Peaty, though, said on Friday he is looking forward to a different type of challenge in the competition that gets underway in the autumn.

"I think this will come as a surprise to a lot of people, but I'm so excited to finally share the news that I'll be joining Strictly this year," he said in a BBC statement.

"I'm really looking forward to doing something totally different and challenging myself away from the pool.

"I'm hoping my competitive nature is going to compensate for my dancing abilities!"

The programme pairs celebrities with professional dancers to compete in mainly ballroom and Latin dance.

Each couple is scored by a panel of judges and viewers are also able to vote.

Peaty follows other Olympic gold medallists such as heptathlete Denise Lewis (who finished second) and boxer Nicola Adams (who had to withdraw when her dance partner contracted coronavirus) in strutting his dance moves.