Beth Tweddle back on her feet after neck operation for The Jump injury
Published 13/02/2016 | 10:56
Britain's most successful gymnast Beth Tweddle is walking unaided after neck surgery following a fall during training for Channel 4 show The Jump.
The 30-year-old, who won bronze at the London Games in 2012, could only walk a few steps assisted by medics after the operation which involved having a piece of bone taken from her hip.
Tweddle said she has started to feel better and is now walking by herself - but it is a case of "taking one day at a time".
In a statement, she said: "The medical staff here in Austria have been fantastic and I couldn't have wished for better people to be around me at this time.
"I've started to feel a lot better in the past 24 hours and I've begun walking by myself. It's still a case of taking one day at a time, but I'm setting myself goals and I'm determined to be up and about as soon as I can.
"The doctors are happy with my progress and next week we will have a better idea of when I can be discharged from hospital.
"Thank you to everyone that has sent me get well messages. My mum and dad have been reading them to me and, one day, I'll be able to reply to you all. It really has meant a lot to me, so thank you."
Surgeons took a bone from her hip and used it with pins to fuse together two fractured vertebrae in her neck.
The number of injuries on the third series of The Jump - five celebrities have been forced to pull out - has prompted Channel 4 to review safety procedures on the show.
Former Eastenders actor Joe Swash and former England rugby star Ben Cohen have been drafted in to join the dwindling number of competitors.
Swash, 34 and Cohen, 37, have flown out to Austria and will compete for the first time on Sunday's show.
Swash said: "I'm so excited to be a part of The Jump. It is an opportunity that I couldn't refuse and I am delighted to be experiencing this for myself. I cannot wait to get going."
Cohen said: "Being a skier myself it was a no brainer for me to join the cast of The Jump 2016. I've always really enjoyed watching the show and I'm really pleased to be a part of it. I'm looking forward to competing and hope to make it to the final. I'm here to make the most of the experience."
Their introductions follows the return of James "Arg" Argent who was eliminated from the competition last weekend.
The Only Way Is Essex star is back to replace Olympic gold-winning medallist Linford Christie, who was the fifth celebrity to pull out due to injury.
Olympian Rebecca Adlington, 26, withdrew from the show on medical advice after a shoulder injury.
She told host Davina McCall the pain of the fall was ''literally the worst thing that has ever happened to me, it was worse than childbirth''.
Holby City actress Tina Hobley, 44, also headed for the exit after she dislocated her elbow and suffered two fractures to her arm.
On Tuesday it was confirmed that Made In Chelsea star Mark-Francis Vandelli, 26, had also pulled out after fracturing his ankle.
Former EastEnders star Sid Owen, 44, was unable to perform the show's air jump live due to injury last weekend.