| Mumbai |
November 14, 2020 8:35:56 am
One of Great Britain’s most celebrated athletes Nicola Adams accepted the invitation to feature in one of the country’s most popular reality television shows, Strictly Come Dancing. But the two-time Olympic gold medallist boxer – whom Indian readers may remember as the one who stopped Mary Kom’s run in the semi-final at London 2012 – had an unprecedented request ahead of the show’s 18th season. The 38-year-old, an openly gay athlete, asked the show to pair her up with a same-sex partner.
Strictly is a dance show in which celebrities are paired up with choreographers to compete against one another. The BBC, who broadcast the show, agreed to Adams’ request and paired her up with Russian choreographer Katya Jones (who won the 2017 edition). However, the decision was criticized by viewers. But a month into the season, Jones tested positive for Covid-19, and the duo was forced to exit the competition.
BBC statement on Strictly:
“Nicola Adams and Katya Jones are to leave Strictly Come Dancing after Katya tested positive for COVID-19. As part of the protocols outlined ahead of the series, this sadly means they will no longer be able to take part in the competition.”
— Grant Tucker (@GrantTucker) November 12, 2020
The show’s protocols, according to the BBC, includes each pair forming a bubble and performing in front of a socially distanced audience. “Each pair of dancers will form a ‘close contact cohort,’ which can be used in the TV industry by people who need to work closely together and break social distancing rules in order to do their job. They must be regularly tested.”
In the latest test, despite being asymptomatic, Jones tested positive and she, along with Adams was put into mandatory 14-day isolation.
“Nicola Adams and Katya Jones are to leave Strictly Come Dancing after Katya tested positive for Covid-19,” the BBC said in a statement. “Katya is asymptomatic and they are now self-isolating separately. This sadly means they will no longer be able to take part.”
Adams meanwhile, took to social media to express her disappointment. “I’m absolutely gutted my Strictly journey has ended so soon, I had so much more to give and so many people to win this for! But I just want to say a huge thank you to @Mrs_katjones for being the best dance partner anyone could ask for. Team #outsidethebox.”
Hey guys! I’m absolutely gutted my Strictly journey has ended so soon, I had so much more to give and so many people to win this for! But I just want to say a huge thank you to @Mrs_katjones for being the best dance partner anyone could ask for. Team #outsidethebox 👯♀️ pic.twitter.com/MmbBKAUumq
— Nicola Adams (@NicolaAdamsOBE) November 12, 2020
ADAMS COMES OUT
According to The Guardian, Adams had come out to her mother when she was 14, and it was well known that she was gay when she became the first ever woman to win an Olympic gold in boxing at the 2012 Olympics, and later defended her crown at Rio 2016. The feats led her to being awarded the titles Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) and Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) respectively.
On September 6 however, she took to her Twitter account to make clear that she wasn’t bisexual. “I’m lesbian not bi, just saying,” she wrote.
Her sexuality has never openly been criticized, and she has been revered for her athletic performances in the country. The only time, allegedly, that there was any criticism was when she asked for a same-sex partner before competing in Strictly.
MAKING OF TEAM ‘OUTSIDE THE BOX’
In an interview with The Guardian, Adams said of her request: “I guess it’s just breaking those boundaries and showing people that it’s OK. It’s not such an uncommon thing: professional dancers dance with people of the same sex all the time; you dance in a nightclub with your friends. I just wanted to break down the thing of it being a big deal when it’s not really a big deal.”
— BBC Strictly ✨ (@bbcstrictly) November 7, 2020
Last year, a one-off dance routine on Strictly between Johannes Radebe and Graziano Di Prima, both professional dancers, allegedly resulted in nearly 200 complaints.
However, once criticism following the decision of pairing Adams and Jones together started to come in, the BBC made it clear that it will stand by the decision.
“Strictly Come Dancing is an inclusive show and is proud to have featured same sex dancing amongst the professional dancers in group numbers in previous series,” the BBC said in a statement.
“We have stated, in the past, that we are open to the prospect of including same sex pairings between our celebrities and professional dancers, should the opportunity arise. Nicola Adams requested an all-female pairing, which we are happy to facilitate. The show is first and foremost about dance, the sex of each partner within a coupling should have no bearing on their routine.”
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