Strictly Come Dancing 2021 star Adam Peaty has opened up about the furore following his almost-kiss with Katya Jones and his mum’s claim that his elimination was a ‘fix’.
This year, the Olympian was partnered with professional dancer Katya for the competition, with the pair delivering an array of enthusiastic performances, one of their most memorable routines being when they were painted blue to look like the characters from Avatar.
In week seven, their journey came to an end when they landed in the bottom two against Tilly Ramsay and Nikita Kuzmin, with the pair shedding tears as they bid their farewell on the results show.
Earlier on in the series, Adam and Katya had set pulses racing with their intense Argentine Tango, with some viewers spotting the pair appearing to almost kiss at the end of the dance.
In a new interview, the athlete has addressed the huge amount of attention they received off the back of the moment on the dancefloor, as well as how he spoke to his mum, Caroline, when she shared that she ‘wasn’t buying’ the public vote amid his exit.
Speaking to The Times about the near-kiss, Adam, who shares 14-month-old son George with his partner Eiri Munro, explained that he was ‘playing a character’.
‘I knew my role, I knew what I had to do. I was playing a character and I’m not going to do it half-heartedly,’ he said.
‘You have to play it as much as you can, get into it, enjoy it.’
Speaking directly to those who have criticised and trolled him on social media, he added: ‘I have one message for them: “I have no respect for you because you’re hiding yourself [behind another identity online].” The whole experience [of social media abuse] was a learning curve. We’d not been through this before.’
At the time, Adam tweeted a statement emphasising that people be mindful of the ‘real-life consequences’ of their remarks.
It was reported earlier this month that he was ‘beside himself’ over the trolling his partner also endured online.
When Adam was voted out of the show, his mum, who works as a nursery nurse, tweeted: ‘Proud @adam_peaty and @Mrs_katjones such an amazing partnership and @Mrs_katjones you have taught my baby boy how to dance, thank you x Total fix and I’m not buying the public vote.’
He stressed that his mum is ‘very protective’ of him, adding: ‘I had to tell her to calm down a bit.’
When it was mentioned to him that of course his parents are used to seeing him win on the world stage, he replied: ‘Yes, exactly. But if you win at everything you do, you’re not pushing yourself out of your comfort zone.’
Strictly Come Dancing returns tonight at 6.35pm on BBC One.