From Russia with love!
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New to the Strictly family in 2016, Katya quickly stole the show with her creative routines and enthusiastic political partner Ed Balls. The pair finished in an impressive sixth place, but she topped that in 2017 when she lifted the Glitterball with celeb partner Joe McFadden!
In 2018 Katya teamed up with comedian Seann Walsh and the duo made it to Halloween. She took her 2019 partner Mike Bushell two weeks further to Week Eight, bowing out just before Blackpool.
Katya went on to make Strictly history in 2020, being part of the show's first ever same sex partnership with boxer Nicola Adams. Unfortunately the couple had to bow out in Week Four due to a positive COVID test.
But Katya's returned for 2021 with another Olympic champion by her side - triple gold medallist Adam Peaty!
Born Ekaterina Sokolova, Katya’s story kicks off in her hometown of Saint Petersburg, Russia, where she began dancing at just six years old. Katya trained in both Ballroom and Latin, as well as gymnastics, and soon hit the competition circuit.
In 2008, two of Katya’s coaches - including former Strictly professional Karen Hardy - recommended a partner they felt she’d work well with. That partner was fellow Strictly Pro Neil Jones, and the coaches were right! Together Katya and Neil made their first major final within less than a year.
A win at the WDC World Championships followed, as well as three titles at the World Amateur Latin Championships, before they finally turned pro in 2013.
Now they're both Strictly fan favourites and we couldn't imagine our glittering family without them!