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Claudia Fragapane

This teen gymnast is no stranger to the win

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Fresh from the Rio Olympics and ready to backflip her way onto the Strictly dancefloor, it’s gymnast Claudia Fragapane!

Meet Claudia Fragapane

"I thought if I go on the show it will help with my gymnastics"

She’s used to performing in spandex and sparkles; she can flip, twist and turn like a Strictly pro; and she’s got a superhuman sense of rhythm. But Claudia is far from confident in her dancing prowess.

I am obviously competitive in my gymnastics, but only if you win fairly
Claudia Fragapane

“I don’t see myself in the final,” she admits. “I just want to go there, enjoy it and challenge myself.”

A modest outlook from the Westcountry whirlwind, who, at 18, is our youngest competitor this year. Not only does she have youth on her side, but a stellar career in artistic gymnastics should give her quite the foundation.

Claudia picked up an incredible four gold medals at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014, plus three successive silvers at the European Championships. And her success on the podium translated into a Young Sports Personality of the Year win.

And a background like that means Claudia is more than ready to be scrutinised by the Strictly judges: “Some are harsher critics than others but I take criticism well.”

At just 4’7, Claudia proudly wears the nickname Pocket Rocket, although she’s hoping there’ll be a Strictly Pro to match her dimensions: “I don’t have a favourite, but just someone of a similar height so it is easier to dance with them.”

Regardless of height, no doubt our male professionals will be fighting to pair up with someone whose credentials are as impressive as Claudia’s. Reckon she can add a Glitterball Trophy to that already-heaving mantelpiece?