Strictly Come Dancing training is just pants for Greg Rutherford

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Greg Rutherford has joked that he will find it a challenge not to have his annual break - during which he normally sits around "in my pants eating cakes" - due to his training for Strictly Come Dancing.

Greg, 29, will take to the dance floor fresh from competing in the Rio Olympic Games, where he won a bronze medal in the long jump.
He said: "At this time of year I normally completely switch off for six weeks.

"I stay at home a lot, sitting around in my pants eating cakes, because I don't really get to do that the rest of the year and this is going to be one of the first years in a long time that I'm training through."

Greg Rutherford
Strictly's Greg Rutherford (Jay Brooks/BBC /PA Images)

The Olympian, who won gold at London 2012, is part of the 15-strong celebrity line-up hoping to win the coveted Glitterball Trophy.

Ex-cabinet minister Ed Balls said he signed up for the popular BBC One show for his wife, MP Yvette Cooper.

He said: "Yvette is hugely envious - she's always wanted to be on Strictly. She's a great dancer so she said to me, 'you've got to do it' - so I'm doing it for Yvette."

Strictly Come Dancing 2016
Ed Balls (Jay Brooks/BBC/ PA Images)

The former shadow chancellor said the critic he is most hoping to impress is head judge Len Goodman.

The 49-year-old said: "I think if Len is less than favourable it will just inspire me to work harder because I want to do well for him."

Pop star Will Young shared Balls's admiration of Len, who announced recently that this series of Strictly will be his last.

Will said: "I love him (Len). I think I am bordering on stalker level."

Strictly Come Dancing 2016
Claudia Fragapane (Jay Brooks/BBC /PA Images)

Olympic gymnast Claudia Fragapane, who at 18 is this year's youngest contestant, said being on the show is a "dream come true".

She said she watched fellow Team GB member Louis Smith when he won the 2012 series of Strictly.

Claudia said: "I used to watch Louis Smith when he was on the show and saw how he used his gymnastics skills to complement his routines, so I'll be following his lead there."

Strictly Come Dancing 2016
Strictly Come Dancing 2016 - the full line-up (Jay Brooks/BBC /PA Images)

Other famous faces hoping to salsa their way into the top spot are EastEnders actress Tameka Empson, Birds Of A Feather's Lesley Joseph, model Daisy Lowe, American singer Anastacia, presenter Laura Whitmore, BBC Sports presenter Ore Oduba, DJ and presenter Melvin Odoom, former Eternal singer Louise Redknapp, actor Danny Mac, newsreader Naga Munchetty and reality TV judge Robert Rinder.

Strictly Come Dancing - The Launch Show will be broadcast on BBC One on Saturday during which the 15 celebrity contestants will discover which professional dancer they will be paired with.