ARE YOU CRACKERS, JAMES?
He nearly died in a cycle crash. Now Strictly star’s got a powerful motorbike
HIS divorce was finalised a mere seven weeks ago.
Now Olympic gold medallist James Cracknell has not only found a younger blonde girlfriend, he has also treated himself to a shiny boy’s toy.
The 47-year-old rower turned up for the launch of this year’s Strictly Come Dancing astride a gleaming 800cc motorcycle.
Cracknell arrived at the BBC studios in motorbike leathers, boots and helmet riding the Honda VFR800F – something that might have sent shivers down the spine among the show’s producers.
In 2010, the father of three nearly died when his bicycle was hit by a petrol tanker.
Cracknell, who was crossing the US for a TV documentary, sustained serious head injuries when the truck’s wing mirror struck the back of his head on Route 66.
Although he was wearing a helmet, his skull was broken in two places. He was left in a coma and suffered brain damage that he has revealed left him with a short temper, memory loss and an altered personality. During his months of recovery, he admitted he was lucky to have survived the crash.
A fortnight ago, Cracknell suffered a far less serious prang with a minicab driver in London, after which he tweeted that he’d had a ‘slight wobble’ but had suffered only ‘a bit of road rash and damaged ego’ and a ‘bust finger’.
He said he had feared his Strictly hopes were nearly over before they began, adding: ‘To be honest I’ve got more chance of winning the Tour [de France] than winning Strictly Come Dancing. But in for a penny.’
Cracknell, who won Olympic gold in 2000 and 2004, signed up for Strictly after splitting from his wife of 17 years, TV presenter Beverley Turner. At the weekend, he went public with his new girlfriend Jordan Connell. He and the 33-year-old American finance student, whom he met while studying philosophy at Cambridge University, were pictured kissing in a London park.
Miss Turner, 45, openly criticised Cracknell for deciding to enrol at Cambridge and become the oldest participant to take part in the Boat Race, in which he helped Cambridge beat Oxford.
But she has been supportive of his appearance on Strictly, despite reportedly banning him from taking part in the past.
However, she has poked fun at his dancing abilities, saying: ‘Prepare to see James completely up the creek without a paddle.’
Midlife crisis? James Cracknell, in bike leathers, with his Honda VFR800F at the BBC studios Riding off: The 47-year-old hits the road
New girl: Cracknell with Jordan Connell, , at the weekend