GB Taekwondo has reservations over Jade Jones' participation in 'The Jump' TV show
GB Taekwondo chiefs say they “had reservations” but “understand” double Olympic champion Jade Jones’ decision to take part in Channel 4’s The Jump.
The programme involves competitors learning to ski jump, and the last series saw several serious injuries.
Gymnast Louis Smith and Paralympic cyclist and athlete Kadeena Cox will also take part in the new series.
GB Taekwondo says it has has held “extensive” talks with Jones about the risks involved.
The 23-year-old from north Wales is set to compete in taekwondo’s World Championships later this year.
She, Rio silver medallist Smith, and Cox, who won gold in both her disciplines at the Rio Paralympics, all receive funding from UK Sport to help them train for their respective events.
UK Sport told BBC Sport the participation of funded athletes in The Jump was a matter for the individual sports concerned – although GB Taekwondo is the only governing body to have commented on the issue so far.
A GB Taekwondo spokesperson said: “While we had our reservations, we understand Jade’s desire to try new challenges and to take part in this show. We have held extensive discussions with Jade and her management and she is aware of the risks involved.
“She has made an informed decision to take part in the show and has ensured that The Jump and its production company has all the requisite cover and medical provision is in place.”
Should athletes withdraw?
Former Olympic heptathlete Louise Hazel, who finished second in the 2015 series after retiring from athletics, told BBC Radio 5 live that she was surprised current athletes were considering taking part in the show.
“As an athlete you are always looking for the next thrill but I would advise them to withdraw,” she said.
“For those athletes who have retired it is OK to take a risk, but for those still in sport this could easily turn into a career-ending injury.
“As a participant you know there is an element of risk, but there was a part of me seeking that out and it is a calculated risk. The question is whether people know the full extent of the risk before signing up.”
The Jump’s injury record
In the show’s previous editions, Olympic gymnast Beth Tweddle needed surgery to have fractured vertebrae fused together after she was injured in training, while double gold medal winning swimmer Rebecca Adlington suffered a shoulder injury.
Former Holby City actress Tina Hobley sustained knee, shoulder and arm injuries and has only recently stopped using crutches and Made In Chelsea star Mark-Francis Vandelli broke his ankle.
In addition, athlete Linford Christie pulled a hamstring, ex-EastEnders actor Joe Swash chipped a bone in his shoulder, Girls Aloud star Sarah Harding injured a ligament and model Heather Mills hurt her knee and thumb.
Channel 4 says there has been a “thorough review of safety procedures” before this year’s series.
How would injury harm the athletes’ prospects?
Jones, who was named BBC Cymru Wales Sports Personality 2016 after going through the year unbeaten, is scheduled to take part in the World Championships in South Korea in June, aiming to claim the only major international title that has eluded her so far.
Cox, 25, does not have a major cycling event this year, with no Para-cycling Track World Championships officially confirmed, but she would be expected to take part in the Para-Athletics World Championships in London in July.
Also among the competitors are retired Olympic cycling champion and Tour de France winner Sir Bradley Wiggins, former rugby players Jason Robinson and Gareth Thomas, and ex-Liverpool and England striker Robbie Fowler.