Channel 4 has ordered a review into safety procedures on The Jump after Olympic bronze medallist Beth Tweddle needed surgery on her neck following a fall on the slopes while training for the reality TV show.
The retired gymnast, 30, had fractured vertebrae fused together after she was injured and is currently recovering in hospital in Austria. She has quit the show and described the last 48 hours as “scary”.
Tweddle’s parents Ann and Jerry said in a statement: “The early medical indications were positive as Beth was able to move her hands and feet, despite being in a lot of discomfort.”
From her hospital bed in Austria Beth said: “Thank you so much for your support and concern. The last 48 hours have been very scary but all the messages have really helped to keep me positive. I will keep you updated on my progress.”
Tweddle became the third contestant to depart this year’s show due to injury. Olympic swimming champion Rebecca Adlington, 26, withdrew following a shoulder injury while competing on the show. She described the pain as “literally the worst thing that has ever happened to me, it was worse than childbirth”.
Actress Tina Hobley, 44, left after dislocating her elbow and suffering two fractures to her arm.
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Adlington will be replaced by former contestant Heather Mills, who was knocked out in the first round in 2014. She had been forced to compete in an unfamiliar prosthetic limb after breaking hers during training. Hobley has been replaced by The Wanted’s Tom Parker while a replacement for Tweddle has not yet been announced.
Eddie ‘The Eagle’ Edwards, the first British Olympic ski jumper and an occasional guest on The Jump, warned that ski-jumping can be “a bit too dangerous” to newcomers unless they have spent a month skiing “all day, every day”.
He also said the show was prone to treating all the celebrities the same way irrespective of skiing experience: “They have got to look at ways to make it safer for the celebrities or someone is going to pull the plug on the show. They won’t be able to afford the insurance cover on these guys.”
However, Channel 4 responded, saying: “All competitors are assessed and receive bespoke training according to their ability. No competitor is cleared to jump unless experts deem them proficient.”
Sunday night's episode saw contestant Linford Christie, 55, unable to take part in an event due to pulling his hamstring, but he has not ruled himself out of the show. Meanwhile, former EastEnders star Sid Owen and Made In Chelsea’s Mark Francis Vandelli were unable to perform the air jump live due to injury.
Channel 4 said it had asked the producers of the show, which follows celebrities as they try to master various winter sports, including ski jumping, skeleton and speed skating, to re-assess every event and training plan.
A spokesperson said: “All winter sports carry some element of risk but in light of the number of injuries this year, Channel 4 has asked the producers to review safety procedures again to further reduce the prospect of accident.”
The events on a new course were “no more difficult” than in the previous two series and all competitors had “undertaken a rigorous training programme to prepare them for the show”, they added.