Olympic boxer Nicola Adams OBE has opened up about being part of the first-ever Strictly Come Dancing same-sex couple.
The 37-year-old sports star, who was the first openly LGBT person to win a boxing Gold at the 2012 Games, revealed that she asked BBC bosses to be partnered with a female professional dancer when she signed up to take part in the show earlier this year.
Speaking to Daily Star Online and other media outlets, Nicola explained: "I asked to be paired with a female pro and it was important to me because of diversity.
"I just wanted to do something different and I didn't get the big deal being paired with another female.
"We go to nightclubs and girls dance with girls all the time and professional female dancers dance with girls all the time, so I don't think it's a big deal."
She added: "I think it's really good to be able to show diversity for the younger generation.
"It's nice for members of the LGBT community to be able to think to themselves 'that could be me one day dancing on Strictly'.
Nicola, who appeared on the recent series of Celebrity Gogglebox alongside her girlfriend Ella Baig, admitted that she hopes her sporting background will help her during the intense dance rehearsals.
She said: "I'm quite light on my feet and I'm used to being on my toes, and I know for a lot of the dances you have to be on your toes so I'm hoping that gives me a little bit of an advantage.
"I'm super competitive and I want to be in the final so I'll be working as hard as I can to make that happen and I'll definitely be giving 110% in everything I do.
"Strictly is totally out of my comfort zone. I'm used to being in the boxing ring but this is a totally different kind of ring and different kind of learning routines.
"I'm excited though and I'm looking forward to it."
As a professional boxer, Nicola is no stranger to eyeing up competition and the Leeds native has let slip who she thinks will be the one to beat to lift the famous glitterball trophy.
"Maisie [Smith] is a front runner because she's already danced before so she knows what she's doing," said Nicola.
"I'll be putting in as many hours as I can and making sure I get plenty of training done.
"I'm going to get frustrated and annoyed at myself if I can't get the steps or the routine done right. It's going to be funny seeing the behind-the-scenes footage of me training.
"Whoever I'm partnered with has to be as competitive as me because I'm going to be working hard every day."
Nicola was recently spotted leaving rehearsals with professional dancer Katya Jones and rumours have since been circulating that they are the first same-sex pairing.
As well as entertaining viewers at home, Nicola will have to impress judges Shirley Ballas, Craig Revel-Horwood and Motsi Mabuse.
Speaking about facing the panel of experts, she said: "I am used to having really tough coaches telling me what I'm doing wrong and right.
"I think it's important to be able to take criticism because that is how you progress and move forward so you can improve for the next performance.
Fans will find out the identity of Nicola's dance partner during the pre-recorded launch show next Saturday and the pair are expected to take to the dancefloor for the first time the following weekend on October 24.
Strictly Come Dancing launches on BBC One on October 17
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