Former Yorkshire cricketer Ryan Sidebottom visits York rink with Dancing on Ice partner Brandee Malto

Sporting hero Ryan Sidebottom is swapping his cricket whites for sequins and skates as he counts on Yorkshire pride to help him glide through the first round of Dancing on Ice.

The pair get in some practice ahead of the start of Dancing on Ice next month.
The pair get in some practice ahead of the start of Dancing on Ice next month.

The former Yorkshire and England player has been learning to skate for the very first time ahead of the new ITV series, due to begin next month.

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“This is a massive challenge but I’m loving it,” he said. “Cricketers aren’t allowed to skate or ski in case they get injured, so the whole experience is really alien to me and it’s been incredibly tough starting from scratch on the ice.

“It can be a difficult transition when you retire from competitive sport and staying fit and active is so important for your mental and physical health. I hope my journey will inspire others to know it’s never too late to try something completely new. I’m determined to give it my all – all 6ft 5in of me – and I want to do Yorkshire proud.”

The former sportsman retired in 2017 having taken 762 first-class wickets and won five County Championship titles over a 20-year playing career.

Sidebottom and his dance partner, Brandee Malto, took a short break from their intensive training schedule yesterday to meet fans at the ice rink at Yorkshire’s Winter Wonderland at McArthurGlen Designer Outlet in York.

The pair get in some practice ahead of the start of Dancing on Ice next month.

Maria Farrugia, of Lunchbox Theatrical Productions, said: “As organisers of the rink for the last 14 years, it is always a joy to watch the skating ability of our customers increase year on year. The return of Dancing on Ice to our TV screens just helps to make ice skating current and cool and so getting behind Ryan Sidebottom was a must.”

Sidebottom has also won the support of Welcome to Yorkshire chief executive Sir Gary Verity DL, who said: "We were huge fans of Ryan the cricketer and we’re so proud of how far he’s already come on the ice.

"We all know just how amazing Yorkshire is at coming together to support people, and this is a really big challenge for someone like Ryan, with no background at all in either skating or dancing so we’re urging the whole county to get behind him.”

Ryan Sidebottom and dance partner Brandee Malto at the ice rink at Yorkshires Winter Wonderland in York. Pictures: Jonathan Gawthorpe
Sidebottoms says he wants to do Yorkshire proud when he appears on the ITV show next month.