Louis Smith confirmed as Strictly Come Dancing contestant

HUNTINGDON gymnastics hero Louis Smith has been confirmed as a contestant on this year’s Strictly Come Dancing.

The 23-year-old will join fellow Olympian Victoria Pendleton and a host of other celebrities on the primetime BBC show, which is hosted by Sir Bruce Forsythe and Tess Daly.

It will be the second time Louis, who won an individual silver and a team bronze in London, has appeared on a television talent show – he has previously entered The X Factor.

Paul Hall, who coaches Louis at the Mayfield Road club, told The Hunts Post: “It’s wonderful that Louis is doing Strictly – I’m extremely interested in how he will get on dancing and keeping up with training. It’s very exciting.

“It’s a major thing for the club. Louis is a big success but one of many that we have here.”

Mr Hall said he hoped the continued exposure would promote the club further as it tries to raise hundreds of thousands of pounds for its desperately-needed extension.

Cricketer Michael Vaughan is expected to take to the dance floor alongside Louis.

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The 37-year-old former England captain would follow in the footsteps of cricketers Darren Gough and Mark Ramprakash, who have previously won Strictly.

It has already been announced that Girls Aloud singer Kimberley Walsh is one of this year’s 14 contestants.

The 30-year-old tweeted a picture of herself practising with professional dancer Anton du Beke but reassured fans she was not revealing who her partner will be.

Other confirmed contestants include Westlife’s Nicky Byrne, Daybreak presenter Richard Arnold and actress Dani Harmer – who impressed viewers with a Bugsy Malone-inspired routine on Let’s Dance for Sportrelief.

Former children’s TV host Johnny Ball is expected to join them - the oldest competitor at the age of 74 - alongside model Jerry Hall and actor Sid Owen, best known for appearing as Ricky Butcher in EastEnders.

They are set to be joined by presenter Fern Britton, who participated in the Strictly Christmas special in 2010 and former Emmerdale actress Lisa Riley, while James Bond actor Colin Salmon and actress and singer Denise Van Outen are likely to complete the line-up.

All of the contestants hid behind Sir Bruce Forsyth masks when they arrived at a south London dance studio for rehearsals this weekend.

The launch show is to be broadcast on BBC1 on Saturday, when the celebrities’ dance partners will be announced.