Wonderful to do something new after years of gymnastics, says Strictly's axed Claudia Fragapane

Olympian Claudia Fragapane broke down in tears as she told how Strictly Come Dancing had given her the chance to try something different after years of gymnastics training.

The gymnast was eliminated at the weekend after facing actor Danny Mac in the dance-off, becoming the 12th celebrity to receive their marching orders and narrowly missing out on a spot in the final.

Speaking on BBC Two spin off show It Takes Two, Claudia struggled to contain her tears as she said the competition had been a welcome change.

Her voice wobbling, she said: “I just had this feeling where I’m just going to just, I’m just a gymnast who has been training for 12 years on and on and on and to finally do something different and to really really enjoy myself.

“It’s been an incredible journey.”

Claudia and her professional partner AJ Pritchard opted to perform their quickstep to When You’re Smiling by Andy Williams in the dance-off, and Danny and his partner Oti Mabuse repeated their American smooth to Misty Blue by Dorothy Moore.

The judges unanimously opted to save Danny, who has topped the leaderboard in previous weeks.

Claudia told It Takes Two host Zoe Ball she was “really gutted” to have been booted off, but that she loved the entire experience.

She went on: “To be honest everyone is really good now and the standard is so high and I did the best that I could.

“I’ve really, really loved my time here.”

Next Saturday, Danny, Ore Oduba and singer Louise Redknapp will perform three routines in the battle to lift the glitterball trophy in the show’s grand final.

They will perform their favourite dance, the judges’ choice, and a spectacular show dance in a bid to win the viewers’ votes.

Fans will also be treated to group performances, musical moments and surprises as the series draws to a close.

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