Nicola Adams: How the Olympic boxer normalised Strictly Come Dancing same-sex couples

Nicola Adams Strictly Come Dancing

As the curtain fell on another season of Strictly Come Dancing, the British public voted Rose Ayling-Ellis and Giovanni Pernice as the 2021 winners.

The couple stole the hearts of the nation but were up against fierce competition when it came to their performances.

Pushing them all the way to the final was the show’s first ever male pairing, John Whaite and Johannes Radebe.

The all-male couple finished the season with the highest points average after wowing the judges with their beautiful chemistry. 

Viewers across the nation were moved to tears when the two performed an emotional contemporary dance to Adele’s Hometown Glory, which Whaite dedicated to “the people who perhaps feel a bit afraid in life.”

Whaite and Radebe’s partnership was widely well-received by Strictly fans and has hopefully inspired the show to feature more same sex couples moving forward.

This breaking of the stigma that all dance couples must be male and female started last year in a groundbreaking, game-changing, glass ceiling-smashing season.

Strictly icon Nicola Adams 

It all started with Olympic trailblazer and LGBTQ+ icon Nicola Adams.

The former professional boxer competed alongside Katya Jones as the first ever same sex Strictly Come Dancing duo. In the 16 years the show had been running, this was an historic moment to be remembered forever. 

Shattering the glass ceiling isn’t something that’s new for Adams. During her glittering career in the ring, she became the first ever female boxer to become an Olympic champion when she won gold at London 2012.

The Lioness then set a new milestone when she retained her title at the following games, clinching another gold medal at Rio 2016.

Adams is also one of the most recognised queer female athletes and was honoured for her status within the community in 2012 when The Independent named her the most influential LGBTQ+ person in Britain.

Her title win at the London Olympics also made her the first openly LGBTQ+ person to win a boxing gold at the Games.

After retiring in 2019, Adams swapped out her gloves for dancing shoes when she was announced as part of the Strictly Come Dancing Class of 2020. 

Nicola Adams

Sadly, despite the waves the boxer made on the show, her journey was cut short when Jones tested positive for Covid-19 and the pair had to withdraw from the competition after Week Three.

But in her short spell on Strictly, she created something beautiful as she commanded the attention of the judges and the fans, just as she did inside the ring. With every step and every turn, perceptions of same-sex couples were changing

A rumoured return to Strictly

Adams performed the jive, quickstep, and a street commercial number during her time on Strictly, before captivating the audience with a return for one final dance during the final.

Adams and Jones were spellbinding in their final showcase and left viewers inspired and hoping for more same-sex couples to take to the Strictly floor in future seasons. 

The boxing trailblazer has also teased that she is not ruling out a return to the ballroom in the future.

“It would be really cool to come back to Strictly because I feel like we’ve got unfinished business,” she told the Metro.


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