They may have found fame as actors, presenters, models or pop stars, but if things had worked out differently, could some of Britain’s celebrities have achieved greatness in the swimming pool or on the track?
We’re about to find out thanks to the new series The Games, which sees 12 celebrities training and competing in a variety of sports.
Every night this week, Holly Willoughby and Freddie Flintoff will be bringing us the action from Crystal Palace athletics stadium, with additional reporting by Alex Scott, and we’ll find out on Friday who has topped the men and women’s medal tables.
The famous faces taking up the challenge are TV presenter Olivia Attwood, model Phoenix ‘daughter of Scary Spice’ Brown, ex-Strictly pro Kevin Clifton, pop star Max George, songwriter Chelcee Grimes, Harry Potter actor Josh Herdman, model Christine McGuinness, newsreader Lucrezia Millarini, musician Wes Nelson and soap stars Colson Smith, Rebecca Sarker and Ryan Thomas.
They all look like they are in pretty decent shape, but while some do have sporty pasts – as a child, Olivia competed at a county level as a cross-country runner – others are venturing into new territory.
Colson, who is better known to Coronation Street fans as Craig Tinker, struggled with sport and his weight until he took up running during lockdown and discovered he loved it. (Viewers will have seen his transformation on screen).
Now, he’s ready to try other new sports, although he admits he has reservations about some of the events.
He says: “It’s the aspect of a challenge that appealed to me about The Games and to prove to myself that I can do it. I’ve learnt in recent years that there are no limitations as to what I can and cannot do. This opportunity came up and it seemed like the perfect next step in my fitness journey.
“I’m least looking forward to the hurdles. The hurdles are high and it just doesn’t feel like it’s going to end well on the hurdles! And we get on the diving boards soon and I’m not sure that’s going to be the most fun experience of my life. Hurdles and diving are not hobbies that I am going to keep up after the show!”
He’s not the only one worrying about the hurdles. Newsreader Lucrezia says: “I enjoy running but the hurdles will be a challenge. I’m 5ft1, I’m little and so is Rebecca and we’ve talked about this. When you see those hurdles in real life you realise just how high they are! I’m hoping the ones we’re jumping might be a little bit shorter than those used by the professionals?!”
She’s about to find out as that’s one of the women’s events due to take place in tonight’s opening show. Meanwhile, the men will be doing battle in the hammer and the 400m. Then there’s also the mixed synchronised diving.
So, it might be mixed night for former Corrie star Ryan, who says: “I think my favourite event will be the hammer. Least favourite will be the diving because I’m worried about doing belly flops and hurting myself!”