Saturday 27 May 2017

Tattoo drama sparks row on Operation Transformation

Chris McEligott on Operation Transformation. Image: RTE
Chris McEligott on Operation Transformation. Image: RTE
Chris McElligot shows off his new tattoo. Pic: RTE / Operation Transformation
Chris McElligott, Ray DArcy and Dr Ciara Kelly.
Chris McElligott Photo: Gareth Chaney
Operation Transformation: Karl Henry commends Elaine Crowley for showing her vulnerabilities on national television

Sasha Brady

Operation Transformation's Chris McElligot got on the wrong side of fitness expert Karl Henry this week when he showed up to the weigh-in with a new tattoo.

The former football player has been making incredible progress on Operation Transformation but his decision to get a new tattoo has caused some problems.

Fitness expert Karl Henry was livid when Chris missed out on some of the training exercises this week and didn't reach his weekly target.

Speaking on RTE Radio One's Ray D'Arcy Show, the Ballymun man explained why he decided to go ahead with the body art.

Chris McElligot shows off his new tattoo. Pic: RTE / Operation Transformation
Chris McElligot shows off his new tattoo. Pic: RTE / Operation Transformation

"Since I've lost my leg I've always had this idea of a biochemical tattoo on the back of my leg, of my existing leg on the calf. I suppose I was never in the right place to get it at the right time. And for many a year I kept throwing this idea around my head and what I wanted it to be."

Chris, who lives in Dunshaughlin, Co. Meath with his partner Elizabeth and their three children, lost his right leg in a road crash 16 years ago.

Chris McElligott Photo: Gareth Chaney
Chris McElligott Photo: Gareth Chaney

He explained that before he signed up for the show, he had a tattoo artist draw up a design for him and had booked an appointment to get inked in February. The tattoo was intended to represent the new-found confidence he hoped his journey on the show would give him.

"I wanted a tattoo of a biochemical leg that would look similar to the prosthetic leg that I have so that even when the kids look at it, they are intrigued by it. And they are thinking 'maybe this is what everybody looks like' and I wanted people to know that I'm not ashamed."

Chris McElligott, Ray DArcy and Dr Ciara Kelly.
Chris McElligott, Ray DArcy and Dr Ciara Kelly.

He added: "I'm more confident now than I've ever been in a long time because of Operation Transformation, because of the weight-loss, because they've given me the tools to go in the direction I'm going."

While Chris is happy with his artistic statement of confidence, trainer Karl Henry isn't so pleased.

At this week's weigh-in, the fitness expert argued that the timing wasn't right for Chris to get the tattoo, especially as he missed his weight-loss target this week.

"I'm really, really disappointed this week," said an exasperated Karl.

Operation Transformation: Karl Henry commends Elaine Crowley for showing her vulnerabilities on national television
Operation Transformation: Karl Henry commends Elaine Crowley for showing her vulnerabilities on national television

"It's not the tattoo but the timing of the tattoo. To get it done while on a show to follow a plan, to lose wight, to get healthy, to do something that could potentially jeopardise that plan both in terms of your 5k, in terms of your resistance... going into it you didn't really know if you could train when it wad done.

"I suppose, put yourself in my shoes. If you're coaching a team for a cup final and one of your players went and got something done and you potentially had to take him out of training, how would you react to that?"

Psychologist Dr Eddie Murphy told Ray D'Arcy that while he understands that Karl Henry was disappointed with Chris for missing his target, he felt that it was "quite an important statement that [Chris] made today in terms of a statement about his life".

Chris, also empathised with Karl's frustration but stood by his decision to get the tattoo done.

"I completely understand where Karl is coming from," he said.

"He's trying to mind me and try and make sure that my body is in good condition before our 5k but I also know my own body. Sometimes the leg can be my downfall because there's so much pain that I have with.

"It's shrinking all the time, that causes pain, but a lot of people know me as this strong character and the leg will never stop me doing anything."

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