Celebrities train and compete in games

Freddy Flintoff, Holly Willoughby, Chris Camara, Alex Scott
Freddy Flintoff, Holly Willoughby, Chris Camara, Alex Scott

They may have found fame as actors, broadcasters, models or pop stars, but if things had gone differently, could some British celebrity achieve greatness in the pool or on the right track?

We’re about to find out thanks to the new series The Games, which sees 12 celebrities train and compete in a variety of sports.

Every night this week, Holly Willoughby and Freddy Flintoff will bring us excitement from Crystal Palace Athletics, with additional reporting from Alex Scott, and on Friday we’ll find out who topped the men’s and women’s medal tables.

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Lucrezia Millarini, Wes Nelson, Josh Herdman, Phoenix Gulzar Brown, Max George, Kristen McGuinness, Kevin Clifton, Rebecca Sarker, Ryan Thomas, Chelsea Grimes, Colson Smith, Olivia Atwood

Famous faces who have taken on the challenge are TV presenter Olivia Atwood, model Phoenix’s daughter Scary Spice’ Brown, former professional strictly Kevin Clifton, pop star Max George, songwriter Chelsea Grimes, Harry Potter actor Josh Herdman, model Kristen McGuinness, and broadcaster news. Lucrezia Millarini, musician Wes Nelson, and soap stars Colson Smith, Rebecca Sarker and Ryan Thomas.

They all seem to be in pretty good shape, but while some have athletic pasts—as a child, Olivia competed countywide as a cross country runner—others are venturing into new territories.

Coulson, known to Coronation Street fans as Craig Tinker, struggled with the sport and his weight until he started running during the lockdown and discovered he loved it. (Viewers will see his transformation on screen.)

Now, he’s ready to try other new sports, although he admits he has reservations about some of the events.

“It’s part of the challenge that has appealed to me about gaming and has proven to myself that I can do it,” he says. “I have learned in recent years that there are no limits on what I can and cannot do. This opportunity came and seemed to be the perfect next step in my fitness journey.

“I’m at least looking forward to the hurdles. The hurdles are big and don’t feel like they’ll finish well on the hurdles! We’ll be joining snorkeling boards soon and I’m not sure it’s going to be the most enjoyable experience of my life. Hurdles and scuba diving are not hobbies I will continue after the show!”

He’s not the only one who worries about obstacles. News reader Lucrezia says, “I enjoy running but the obstacles are going to be a challenge. I’m 5ft 1 and I’m small and so is Rebecca and we’ve talked about this. When you see these obstacles in real life, you realize how high they are! I hope the ones we jump are a little shorter.” Who are those used by professionals?!”

She’s about to find out that this is one of the women’s events scheduled for tonight’s opening show. In the meantime, the men will have a fight at the hammer and 400m. Then there’s also the mixed synchronous diving.

So, it might be a mixed night for ex-Korean star Ryan, who says, “I think my favorite event would be the hammer. It would be my least favorite diving because I worry about doing a belly fail and hurting myself!”