Sir Steve Redgrave gave medics a scare on Channel 4 show The Jump after he took a nasty tumble and lay motionless for several minutes.
The Olympic rowing champion took his first big skiing fall while training for a cross-country event, rolling over repeatedly and coming to a rest in the snow.
But they discovered that the multi-gold medallist was merely following his first aid training which advises lying still if there is a risk of injury. His tumble came in the wake of numerous injuries on the daredevil programme in which celebrities are put through their paces in winter sports activities.
Melinda Messenger had to withdraw yesterday as a result of concussion following a bash on the bobsleigh track. And socialite Henry Conway broke a bone in his hand and similarly had to pull out.
Sir Steve, who was an experienced skier before joining the show, fell while training in Innsbruck, Austria, where the programme is filmed.
“He rolled a few times and then didn’t move at all,” said a show spokeswoman.
Medics and stretchers were called but, after around 20 minutes during which fears were growing, he got up and was found to have no serious injury.
Journalist Donal McIntyre, who has joined the show as replacement for Messenger, has already found himself in the live jump-off after bungling his first event. The bottom two contestants each night are forced to tackle a ski jump to retain their place in the competition. But McIntyre was instantly forced to the bottom of the pile when he failed to clamber on board when the stars were tackling a bobsleigh run.
Viewers will see the contestants all battling each other after previous heats were divided up along gender lines. Another newcomer to the contest, singer Joe McElderry, who replaced Conway, has impressed the show’s chief coach, who said the other competitors are now feeling the heat after he joined the show.
Performance director Graham Bell said: “Joe has come in from nowhere, he really was dropped in with no prior training, and he’s a natural, he really is.
“He’s got everyone immediately very worried; everyone else has been kind of plotting their course through the competition thinking ‘If I can do this in that competition, that in that competition then I can avoid the Jump, and then maybe when it comes down to jumping at the end I’ve got a chance of winning’.”
“Joe has been excellent in everything he’s done; he just seems to be a natural in the Jump as well. He’s a very strong contender, good skier, very natural physically, very natural at moving rather than actually being a trained athlete. When you watch him ski he just has natural balance and co-ordination.”
The Jump continues each everning on Channel 4.