Paralympic champion Kadeena Cox has defended her decision to participate in Channel 4’s winter sport series The Jump, despite the safety risks, because she wants to make the most of every opportunity in life while she is still able to.
The 25-year-old, who won gold medals in the sports of athletics and cycling at Rio 2016, has had her UK Sport funding suspended by British Athletics while she trains and competes in the show.
The program, which sees novice celebrities learn and then compete across several winter sports including ski jumping and bobsleigh, has courted controversy after several high-profile injuries were suffered by contestants.
Gymnast Beth Tweddle suffered two fractured vertebrae in her neck in last year’s series, while Beijing 2008 double Olympic champion swimmer Rebecca Adlington dislocated her shoulder.
The 2017 series is due to take place over six weeks in the early part of the year, but the transmission date has not yet been announced.
Cox had a stroke in May 2014 and was eventually diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS).
“B4 [sic] judging my decisions ppl [people] should imagine living life as a ticking time bomb,” she tweeted.
“MS has changed my outlook on life, so I’m gonna enjoy skiing.”
Cox does not have any major cycling events in 2017 but is expected to compete in August’s World Para-Athletics Championships in London.
She has already competed in a festive edition of another television series in the BBC’s Robot Wars: Battle of the Stars.
Her machine, called “Kadeena Machina,” beat one piloted by Welsh footballer turned pundit Robbie Savage in the final.
“Due to the nature of the activities on the show, the athlete cannot continue to be supported by the World Class Performance Programme (WCPP) during this time,” British Athletics told the BBC.
“Her UK Sport funding will be suspended until she returns to training and proves her fitness.”
British Cycling appeared more sympathetic in their statement.
“Kadeena enjoyed a fantastic 2016, making history by winning Paralympic gold in both athletics and cycling, and we respect her decision to take some time away from the sport to pursue the opportunities that her success has afforded her,” they said.
UK Sport have left it up to the individual sport governing bodies to made decisions.
Two-time taekwondo Olympic champion Jade Jones and four-time gymnastics medalist Louis Smith are the two other funded athletes competing.
Sir Bradley Wiggins, the recently retired eight-time Olympic medalist and 2012 Tour de France champion, is among other entrants.
By Nick Butler
Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz.