Nicola Adams and her dance partner Katya Jones have been forced to pull out of this year’s Strictly Come Dancing series after Jones tested positive for Covid-19. The Olympic gold-winning medal boxer said she was “absolutely devastated” at having to withdraw early.
Adams and Jones were the first same-sex couple to compete on the flagship BBC dance contest. While the Russian professional dancer tested positive she has not displayed any symptoms, but will still have to self-isolate. Adams has so far tested negative, as have the rest of the cast.
A BBC statement read: “Katya is asymptomatic and the pair are now self-isolating separately following the latest government guidelines. 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.”
They are the first couple forced to withdraw from this year’s Strictly due to the virus – but if the BBC’s safety protocols have been followed then the hope is that the show will be able to continue to its conclusion. The BBC said: “The rest of the cast are unaffected and the show will continue this Saturday night on BBC One.”
All the dance couples are bubbled separately in case of this eventuality – with all the group dances having been filmed in a larger bubble before the live series began. This has meant that two married dancers, Janette Manrara and Aljaz Skorjanec, have not been allowed to touch while they remain in contention for the Strictly crown with their celebrity dance partners.
Adams said: “I’m absolutely devastated my Strictly journey has come to an end 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 Katya for being the best dance partner anyone could ask for. She pushed me way out of my comfort zone and it’s been an incredible experience.
“I’m gutted to be out of the competition but in these unprecedented times, and as frustrating as it is, the Covid measures in place are to keep everyone safe, and I’m doing what I can to help. I’ll be spending the next 14 days isolating so I’d like to apologise in advance for the ridiculous amount of TikToks I’ll be posting in my new-found free time when I’m not gaming!”
Jones said in a statement via the BBC: “Dancing with Nicola has been an absolute inspiration. She’s given her all each and every week and we were so excited to create more dances in the competition. Of course, I’m devastated to leave this way but I’ve made a friend for life and loved every moment of this special journey. I’d like to wish good luck to all the remaining couples!”