Dancing on Ice 2023: Nile Wilson says ITV competition has given him ‘purpose’ after retiring from gymnastics

Nile Wilson says competing on Dancing on Ice has given him a ‘purpose’ again following his retirement from gymnastics in 2021
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Nile Wilson has revealed how competing on BBC’s Dancing on Ice has given him a sense of “purpose” after his retirement from sport.

The former Team GB gymnast, 27, from Leeds, spoke to Mark Ansell at BBC Look North about his experiences on the figure skating show.

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Nile admitted to feeling “sad and lost” after retiring from competing gymnastics in 2021.

He had previously won five gold medals at the Commonwealth Games and bronze medal at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Nile Wilson has revealed that Dancing on Ice has given him ‘purpose’ again following retirement from gymnasticsNile Wilson has revealed that Dancing on Ice has given him ‘purpose’ again following retirement from gymnastics
Nile Wilson has revealed that Dancing on Ice has given him ‘purpose’ again following retirement from gymnastics

Nile stepped down from the sport at the start of January in 2021 with an announcement made on his YouTube channel.

At the time Nile cited health issues for the reason he was retiring and has since spoken about his struggles with mental health and addiction.

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Since his retirement, the former gymnast has also raised allegations of a culture of abuse within British gymnastics that forced him to “live in fear” of his coaches.

Nile appeared on Thursday evening’s (19 January) Look North bulletin alongside his Dancing on Ice skating partner and fellow Olympian, Olivia Smart, 25.

The pair appeared on an ice rink in Leeds where they had been rehearsing for the figure skating show and were excited to talk about the fact they’re both from Yorkshire.

Mark from Look North asked: “Nile you retired two years ago, you’ve talked about being lost and sad in retirement, how has this show given you some direction and focus?”

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Nile told the BBC: “You have a clear purpose your whole life and have a routine and you know it’s plain and simple, I just wanted to be the greatest gymnast in the world and all of a sudden it’s gone and that process is difficult, ups and downs and just finding what the next thing is.

“This Dancing on Ice has given me such purpose, routine. You really miss that rush of being in front of the crowd and working your whole life for something.

“Show one really just brought back a lot of memories, put a smile on my face that’s probably not been on there for a long time.”

Nile previously spoke about his retirement and working on Dancing on Ice during an interview on ITV’s This Morning last week.

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Dermot O’Leary asked the former gymnast: “You retired from the sport Nile maybe for two minutes, now you’ve decided it’s time for Dancing on Ice. So obviously you don’t want to relax in your retirement. You’re getting straight back out there.”

Nile responded to the host saying: “It’s such a tough process when you’ve done a sport your whole life and that’s your identity. It’s actually been two years so the timing of this was just so perfect.

“I just really wanted to get back out there and perform and just train for something and get a routine back because mentally it’s so difficult adjusting and accepting what life follows, when all you’ve known is one thing.

“So this process has just been fantastic.”