Beth Tweddle: Olympic gymnast launches legal action over reality show injuries
Olympic Bronze medallist, Beth Tweddle MBE, has issued legal proceedings against the makers of the The Jump after suffering injuries, which forced her to pull out of the celebrity ski-jumping show.
Ms Tweddle had to undergo surgery on her neck and spinal cord after suffering fractured vertebrae when she crashed into a barrier following a training jump during the third series of the show in 2016.
Seven of the initial 12 contestants in that particular series, including Tina Hobley, Linford Christie, Mark-Francis Vandelli, and Rebecca Adlington, suffered injuries and were forced to withdraw.
“While training for The Jump TV show Beth suffered severe injuries including two fractured vertebrae requiring serious surgery on her spinal cord,” said Demetrius Danas, a specialist international serious injury lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, who is representing the former gymnast.
“She has had to put many parts of her life and career on hold and while Beth is making a good recovery she still cannot do many of the things she previously could as an elite athlete and may never fully recover,” added Mr Danas.
“Despite attempts to settle the legal case amicably, the defendants involved in making The Jump have so far denied any liability for her injuries and we have been left with no choice but to issue court proceedings as we seek to resolve the case.”
Tweddle says the hardest part of her recover is psychological
Ms Tweddle added: “It’s been a long journey and my recovery is still ongoing. I’m not sure I’ll ever be 100% again. The effects of my accident still interrupt my daily life, and aside from the severe physical injuries at the start, the hardest part of the recovery process has been the psychological element, dealing with and processing the whole accident and the aftermath of what happened. I said before that I don’t want this accident to define me, and I work hard every day to ensure that isn’t the case.
“It’s disappointing that we have had to seek court proceedings as we had hoped the makers of the programme might be willing to work with us to settle the case. But I just want to make sure that there is full accountability for people involved in creating shows like this and to help prevent others having to go through what I have for the past three years.”
The reality show attracted a lot of publicity when it ran on Channel 4, because of the large number of injured contestants.
In 2017, Channel 4 announced the show would be taking a “rest” in 2018.
Eddie the Eagle says contestants should take the blame
Speaking in 2016, former British ski jumper Eddie ‘The Eagle’ Edwards, a resident expert and commentator on the show, said the celebrity contestants in The Jump “must bear the brunt of the blame” for their injuries.
“They signed up for this, they’re being paid for this. If they are hurting, it can often be self-inflicted,” he told the Daily Mail three years ago.
In 2017, Olympic cycling legend Sir Bradley Wiggins quit the programme after breaking his leg.
In a statement given to BBC Sport, production company TwoFour, who make The Jump, said: “This matter is being dealt with by our insurers and we are unable to comment as the claim is ongoing.”
Former Olympic ski jumper, Eddie the Eagle's speech, "Courage and risk – a different perspective," focuses on risk and safety. His perseverance, courage and hard-work in the face of insurmountable odds provides a universal lesson. There is always the risk of failing when you’re trying something new. And in the case of Eddie, his ambitions also put him at risk of severe injury. Eddie will be joined on stage by Larry Wilson, CEO and author of Safestart UK. He will talk about his career, his most serious injury and his perspective on risk. The session will bring new insights into courage and risk with engagement, humour and a touch of seriousness.