Strictly's James Cracknell EXCLUSIVE: Olympic champion claims he's 'learnt more in a week than in his whole life' as he discusses dance rehearsals ahead of his ballroom debut

James Cracknell claims he's learnt 'more in a week' than he's done in his 'whole life.'

Speaking exclusively to MailOnline, the Olympic gold medallist, 47,  detailed how his Strictly Come Dancing rehearsals have been going, and how far he's come thanks to his professional dance partner Luba Mushtuk.

He explained: 'I think "take each week at a time", I just feel very lucky to dance with Luba because she’s amazing. 

Strictly's James Cracknell EXCLUSIVE: Olympic champion claimed on Wednesday that he's 'learnt more in a week than in his whole life' as he discussed his dance rehearsals

Strictly's James Cracknell EXCLUSIVE: Olympic champion claimed on Wednesday that he's 'learnt more in a week than in his whole life' as he discussed his dance rehearsals

'To be able to dance with someone that good every day, it’s an honour. I’ve learnt more in a week than I have done in my whole life.'

The British athlete is a double Olympic gold medallist, and has also won the top prize in six races at the World Rowing Championships, so he is more than fully capable as an athlete to take on the Strictly challenge.

But even then, James admits it's not quite the same as he feels that taking to the dancefloor mental than it is physical, as 'a big part of it is keeping your brain switched on for' hours on end.

'Physically you’re used to doing that side but there’s only so much information my brain can absorb. That’s as much limited by that as the physical side,' he detailed.

But even then, James admits it's not quite the same as he feels that taking to the dancefloor mental than it is physical, as 'a big part of it is keeping your brain switched on for' hours on end

  But even then, James admits it's not quite the same as he feels that taking to the dancefloor mental than it is physical, as 'a big part of it is keeping your brain switched on for' hours on end

'You’ve got to learn not only a routine, you’ve also got to be able to dance in the first place. It’s like playing a football match when they’ve never walked before.

'You’ve got to get the basics like this is how you walk, this is how you kick a ball, and this is a game of football. So you’re trying to fast-track a very impossible difficult skill in a crazy short time.'

Despite their 10-hour-or-more days on preparing for Saturday night, James can't help but gush over his 'amazing' dance partner as he praises her for teaching him how to dance, as well as make choreography that both suits and pushes him.

James also spoke candidly about the head injury he suffered in 2010, while filming for the Discover channel in the US.

Positive attitude: Detailing how rehearsals are going, he said: 'I think "take each week at a time", I just feel very lucky to dance with Luba because she’s amazing'

Positive attitude: Detailing how rehearsals are going, he said: 'I think "take each week at a time", I just feel very lucky to dance with Luba because she’s amazing'

Champion: The British athlete is a double Olympic gold medallist, and has also won the top prize at six World Rowing Championships, so he is fully capable to take on the challenge

Champion: The British athlete is a double Olympic gold medallist, and has also won the top prize at six World Rowing Championships, so he is fully capable to take on the challenge

The athlete was hit on the back of the head by a truck's wing mirror, and an MRI showed that he had 'rung his own bell.' 

This meant his brain ended up swinging forward, damaging the frontal lobes which control personality, decision-making, concentration and motivation.

Of how he tries to keep a positive attitude following the injury, James explained: 'It’s part of what you need to boost yourself up, and you do what you can do. 

'Part of going through a bad situation like that, you actually can’t be afraid of doing something else just throw yourself into it, and that’s me.'

Previous injury: James also spoke about the head injury he suffered in a bike accident in 2010, and said it's helped him realise he should just 'throw[himself] into' things like Strictly 

James' son Croyde, 15, and daughters Kiki, ten, and Trixie, eight, are keen to support him but will watch from home on the TV.

'They’re at school at the moment so they’re going to watch the first one on Saturday, they’re too young to come to the studio. 

'Well my eldest can come if, I’m still on the show, but the others are too young so they’ll watch it on TV and be mortally embarrassed I imagine!'

While he has shown the trio his dance moves, their support is mostly constructive criticism, as he joked: 'Their response has been “oh, you can get better.”'

Despite his busy schedule, James opened the Southampton International Boat Show, powered by Borrow A Boat, on Friday where he won a race, an achievement he was proud of getting 13 years after announcing his retirement from competitive rowing. 

Success: Despite his busy schedule, James opened the Southampton International Boat Show on Friday where he won a race

Success: Despite his busy schedule, James opened the Southampton International Boat Show on Friday where he won a race

Proud: Discussing his win, he said: 'That was a real achievement to make it at that level, because you’re racing against people who are competing in Tokyo next year

Proud: Discussing his win, he said: 'That was a real achievement to make it at that level, because you’re racing against people who are competing in Tokyo next year

He tested the Monkey Fist Adventures Ocean rowing boat ahead of their charity challenge with Brain Waves to row across the Atlantic and Indian Oceans to raise awareness of Parkinson’s disease and PTSD.

Discussing his win, he said: 'That was a real achievement to make it at that level, because you’re racing against people who are competing in Tokyo next year. 

'It’s also an indication of how far you’ve slipped back, in 15 years. I haven’t improved in age, let’s put it that way! I was very lucky to have people on the boat, put it that way,' he joked.

Gushing about how 'being out on the water is an amazing experience', he went on to say of the festival: 'I got asked if I could go and open it, tell the kids to get involved and start kayaking and windsurfing, it’s like a holiday.'   

Southampton International Boat Show runs until September 22, and is Britain’s biggest festival of boating with over 15,000 people getting out on the water. 

Trying it out: James tested the Monkey Fist Adventures Ocean rowing boat ahead of their charity challenge with Brain Waves to row across the Atlantic and Indian Oceans

Trying it out: James tested the Monkey Fist Adventures Ocean rowing boat ahead of their charity challenge with Brain Waves to row across the Atlantic and Indian Oceans

For more: Southampton International Boat Show runs until September 22, and is Britain’s biggest festival of boating with over 15,000 people getting out on the water

For more: Southampton International Boat Show runs until September 22, and is Britain’s biggest festival of boating with over 15,000 people getting out on the water

James Cracknell EXCLUSIVE: Strictly star claims he's 'learnt more in a week than he has in his life'

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