Former Crewe gymnast, Beth Tweddle, is continuing to wow judges in the ITV hit reality show, Dancing on Ice - for the second year in a row.
Last night she and professional partner LukaszRozycki skated to Lily Allen's version of Somewhere Only We Know. Judges loved the heartfelt routine in which Beth performed a lift that had never been attempted on the show before.
Beth, 28, who picked up a Bronze medal in the London Olympics, admits she is chuffed to bits that she has found a new focus in her life since retiring from gymnastics last summer.
“Dancing On Ice came at the right time last year,” she said. “I had just done the Olympics and it gave me a challenge to focus on. Now that I have retired it feels really great to be back again. It’s something to focus on again with all the adrenaline that is involved in the competition. It’s surreal but lovely that I am back again.”
Reflecting on how much her life has changed since she won Dancing On Ice in 2013, Beth, who was partnered with Dan Whiston but who is now skating with Lukasz Rozycki - reveals she loves going on the ice so much that she regularly goes on the rink now.
“It’s given me so much confidence,” she said. “The public’s perceptions of me have changed too. When I was doing gymnastics, I was very focused. They didn’t really see my personality. A lot of people commented on how nice it was to see me on the show. It brought me out of my shell. I learned a new skill. I had never skated before and to learn a new trick was amazing.
“The friendship I have formed as well with Dan has been so lovely. We are still really close and we speak most weeks. It’s so nice to have a new friend away from my other circle of friends.
Although she feels sad she isn’t partnered with Dan for the final series, Beth insists she is happy with her new partner. “He has got some good ideas and so hopefully we can try and do some good stuff,” she says.
Does she feel under more pressure given she is the reigning champion? Definitely not, she replies. “It is all about having fun and taking each week as it comes,” says Beth. “In this competition, you see your skills improve and I want to keep doing that.
“It’s great to see so many people returning to the show doing something that they all love. “To me, they are all rivals but at least I know what I am letting myself in for this time. Last time, it was unknown territory. I am so lucky to have been given an opportunity that I have fallen in love with. I feel like I did when I was nine-years-old. I am like a little kid in a sweet shop!”
Given skating has proved to be the perfect tonic for Beth following her triumphant performance in the Olympics in 2012, you wonder if it made her decision to retire over the Summer easier?
“No not necessarily,” she says. “Retirement was always going to be a big decision. I knew in my heart it was the right time to walk away from it. I love skating and I do fall over in every session but I know I have to fall over! This show has provided me with so many amazing memories.”
As for who she thinks will walk away with the champion of champions title and Beth reckons it is going to be too tight a battle to call.
“Some of the celebrities have been skating for seven years now,” she says. “It’s too difficult for me to say who will win but I will throw everything I can at all the challenges I am given. I want to have fun.”
Beth says her dream celebrity partner is "anyone that is up for a laugh".