Who is James Cracknell? Strictly 2019 star and Olympic rower who was married to Beverley Turner

6 September 2019, 16:00 | Updated: 10 September 2019, 17:08

James Cracknell is appearing on 2019's Strictly
James Cracknell is appearing on 2019's Strictly. Picture: Instagram/PA Images

Find out everything about Strictly Come Dancing 2019 contestant James Cracknell, his estranged wife and new girlfriend.

Strictly Come Dancing is back this weekend, bringing us a bunch of new celebrity hopefuls desperate to hold up that Glitterball trophy.

And one man who'll be trying his hardest to impress judges Craig Revel-Horwood, Shirley Ballas, Bruno Tonioli and Motsi Mabuse, is sportsman James Cracknell.

But as he prepares to ditch his rowing vest for diamantes and tight trousers, here’s everything you need to know about Olympian James and his family.

Who is James Cracknell?

James Cracknell is a 47-year-old professional rower who has won the World Rowing Championships six times.

He is also a double Olympic Gold Medallist after winning Gold in both the 2000 Sydney Games and the 2004 Athens Games.

James is an Olympic champion
James is an Olympic champion. Picture: PA Images

Following his sporting success, he was awarded an OBE in 2004.

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After formally retiring from competitive rowing, James took part in The Race Across the Atlantic where he and fellow sportsman Ben Fogle finished first.

He also competed in the Yukon Arctic Ultra, where he cycled over 430 miles across Alaska where he finished 12th - the highest placed Briton ever.

Earlier this year, he also became the oldest ever Boat Race champion as part of Cambridge University’s crew in the 165th Boat Race.

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He just finished studying for his Masters in Philosophy from the University.

Who is James partnered with?

James has been paired up with new professional, Luba Mushtuk.

James and Luba
James and Luba. Picture: BBC

What happened with his wife Beverly Turner?

Earlier this year, James announced that he had split from his wife, television and radio presenter Beverley Turner, after 17-years of marriage.

In a statement released in March, the former couple said: “We can confirm that sadly we separated last year.

“Together, we remain committed to our amazing children, they are our absolute priority and wish people to be kind and mindful of this.”

They were living apart at the time as James moved to Cambridge to study for his MA, while Beverley stayed in London to look after their son Croyde and two daughters Kiki and Trixie.

View this post on Instagram

As @bevturner_thatsme said it’s been quite a week, Sunday was an amazing day & the rest of the week has seen a lot of speculation about why our 19 year relationship ended last year. I knew Bev was writing the piece that appeared on Monday I married an annoyingly forthright & opinionated woman & I have never wanted to oppress that in her. As you can see we are still mates and her brutal honesty has always helped me but never more so than when I was getting back to full mental and physical health. Sunday showed I’m there physically & I’ve gotta hit the books to show my faculty that I’m there mentally. I’ll support Bev 100% she’s heading out with mates tonight & I’m home with the kids! Back to reality

A post shared by James Cracknell (@jamescracknell) on

James was candid about his marriage difficulties following a serious bike crash in 2010, which left him with brain injuries.

The star was hit from behind by a petrol tanker whilst cycling on a quiet road in Arizona.

Since then, the Olympian says he has been left with lasting epilepsy and a changed personality causing a short temper.

Speaking about his marriage, James previously revealed: “It can be hard to feel like we're a married unit any more. We're more of a team but in a weird way like a sporting unit rather than a loving one…

“It's not ideal for a marriage but a firm base to build from and hopefully we'll get back to where we were. Marriage is a hard thing anyway. That is true on a magnified scale with brain injury.”

Who is his new girlfriend?

James recently confirmed his romance with Cambridge University student Jordan Connell after they were pictured kissing on a romantic walk in London.

The couple looked seriously loved up in Battersea Park as they leaned in for a romantic kiss on a bench.

Last month it was reported James was “getting close” to cheerleader Jordan, who is in her early 30s.

A source previously told MailOnline: “They have become very close and since his marriage break up there are few people who would deny him the support of an attractive young woman.

“The end of James' marriage to Bev has been amicable and friendly but there's always going to be regret and maybe loneliness when something like that happens so it's great he's going his own way.”

What does James say about joining Strictly?

The sportsman is very excited about joining the lineup, as he said in a statement: “I’m really looking forward to being a part of Strictly this year.

"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.”