Colin Jackson CBE is set to make his mark on Dancing on Ice this weekend.
The 53-year-old Olympic legend will take to the ice alongside his professional partner Klabera Komini on Sunday evening in a bid to impress the judging panel and viewers at home.
Colin won his first major medal aged nineteen at the 1986 Commonwealth Games but will he be able to follow in the footsteps of former EastEnders actor Joe Swash and scoop the prestigious Dancing on Ice trophy?
He hung up the spikes in 2003 and has carved out a career in the media as an athletics pundit for the BBC.
Colin has already had a taste of reality television and was also runner-up in the third series of Strictly Come Dancing back in 2005.
Throughout his career he's been faced with several personal challenges, from coming out as gay aged 50 to battling an eating disorder.
Daily Star has taken a sneak peak into the life of the Welsh sporting hero ahead of his Dancing on Ice debut.
Colin is a Welsh former sprint and hurdling athlete who specialised in the 110 metres hurdles.
During his career, in which he represented Great Britain and Wales, he won an Olympic silver medal, became world champion twice, World indoor champion once, went undefeated at the European Championships for 12 years and was a two-time Commonwealth champion.
The athlete says that he's suffered discrimination throughout his life and as a result impacted his choice of sport.
Speaking on Decathlon's Power of Ten podcast recently, Colin explained: "In every walk of life. I mean, the first thing people do see… you're black, right. So that’s the first thing they see."
"I went to athletics because athletics seemed to be a sport that accepted black people to be successful.
"I think sometimes people have got to remember that when you’re black in the Western world, you’re a minority. We’re not being oversensitive, we’re just trying to be equal.
"We don’t really want to feel that we need to work any harder than anybody else to get the success. It’s the same in the world of sport, I guess."
Colin finished fifth at the 2000 Summer Olympics and his last major medals came in 2002, taking European indoor and outdoor gold and a Commonwealth silver.
After a period of sports management and coaching, he now works as a sports commentator for athletics and television presenter.
Colin was born in Cardiff, South Wales and is of Jamaican Maroon, Taíno, and Scottish ancestry.
He is the younger brother of actress Suzanne Packer, who played Tess Bateman in the BBC One medical drama Casualty.
Suzanne, 58, played the iconic role from September 2003 to August 2015 and later returned to the series as a guest for the 30th anniversary episodes.
Since departing from Casualty, she has appeared in various television series including Bang, In My Skin and The Pembrokeshire Murders.
The siblings joined the BBC Radio Wales team back in 2018 to co-present Sunday Morning with…. for a short stint over the summer.
Speaking about working with Suzanne at the time, Colin said "It’s lovely to be back on BBC Radio Wales, where I started my broadcasting career.
"It’ll be a bit strange having my big sister sat opposite me but we get on so well, it’s going to be really fun."
Suzanne added: "Colin and I live around the corner from each other, and we’re really close, so I want the show to sound like we’re just sitting down and having a good old gossip."
Colin came out as gay aged 50 in 2017 in a clip on Swedish television promoting the series Rainbow Heroes.
In 2017, he opened up on the moment he told his parents that he was gay in 2006 after a former partner sold a kiss and tell story to the press.
He told presenter Anna Blomqvist: "I was waiting for them in the kitchen. They walked in and they sat down. My mother could see my face and I was quite distraught.
"It didn’t faze them at all. My mum went: 'First of all, is the story true?'
"And I said it’s true, so it’s not like I can deny it. And then she went: 'Well, why are people so disgraceful?'
"I just realised, I’ve got the best parents."
Dancing on Ice made history in 2020 with its first-ever same-sex pairing after Steps star Ian 'H' Watkins skated alongside professional Matt Evers.
Speaking in a new interview with The Sun, Colin revealed he could have opted for a male parter but he chose a woman instead.
He said: "I could have danced with a man on DOI. But I didn't want to. I get on better with women to be honest.
"Me and my dance partner Klabera have an absolute blast. We are giggling all the time – and sharing too many sweets – mainly wine gums."
He added that Ian and Matt were "absolutely brilliant" and it was "fantastic" that they made history.
Colin also revealed the positive impact he has been able to have on young people in sport, admitting: "I got lots of messages from youngsters. You don't realise when you do something like that, how you can really influence other people's lives in such a positive manner. And that was really important in the end to do."
"It did make a huge positive difference for lots of youngsters that were in the sport and doing stuff.
"And I thought, well, that's good, because if you can do something that's you without any effort and it makes a huge positive impact for people, then it's a win-win situation."
His sexuality wasn't the only secret Colin hid during the height of his fame.
He was also suffering from an eating disorder, meaning he would go days without meals, or make himself sick when he consumed food.
The star previously admitted that he was surviving on just 700 calories while in full-time training because he was convinced he was "fat".
Colin explained that it was only thanks to self-awareness about his state of mind and a support network of friend that he was able to climb out of a dark phase in his life.
Talking about how important it is not to let vanity become obsessive following his struggles with bulimia, Colin told Graham Bell on Decathlon's Power of Ten podcast: "This is the real important thing, never make those things become obsessive, because when they become obsessive, then they come destructive as well."
"You can have that passion about it and that sense of like, OK, I want to achieve that. This is what I want to be. But please, please, please never make it obsessive because that's why I fell down that path…of bulimia."
The Olympian explained: "I understand it [bulimia] now – it never really leaves you that that kind of feeling, but now I can control things much better…Yes, vanity is very much part of it.
"But I know the best way and the safest way to look good and feel good about myself, which will ultimately, hopefully help my performance."
Colin appeared as one of the celebrity contestants on Strictly Come Dancing back in 2005, where he came second with his dance partner Erin Boag, just losing out to cricketer Darren Gough.
He became the first competitor who had not won the main series to go on to win the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special in 2006.
Colin is set to swap the ballroom for the ice rink this weekend as he makes his Dancing on Ice debut alongside his professional skating partner Klabera Komini.
Speaking on Decathlon's Power of Ten podcast, Colin told his fellow Dancing on Ice 2021 contestant Graham about the difficulties he has faced trying to master professional ice skating.
He explained: "It is the most challenging thing I've done by far, trying to learn to hold a body posture. And you make one slight, slight turn too far to the left and your whole body goes in the direction and it is so, so precise.
"I have a huge respect for ice skaters from here on in, trust me."
Discussing further how Dancing on Ice has actually helped him during lockdown and given him something new to learn, the athlete revealed: "I think for me at the moment, it's the only thing that I'm doing that takes me away from reality, because once I'm in the ice rink, there's nothing else I focus on."
Dancing on Ice continues on ITV this Sunday at 6pm
- Colin Jackson
- Dancing On Ice
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