Fatima Whitbread MBE
Date of Birth: 3rd March 1961
Famous For: Athlete, winning an Olympic silver medal at javelin
Phobias: Jumping out of a plane
Missing any special occasions? “My best friend’s birthday”
Relationship status: Single.
The 50-year-old sportswoman – who broke the world javelin record in the 1986 European Championships and went on to be crowned World Champion a year later – is under no illusion that the I’m A Celebrity exprience will be a very difficult one, but she says she is ready for the challenge.
“I am a single mum and my son and I have been joined at the hip,” she admits. “I have never left him for longer than 24 hours and whilst I don’t think I will break down in front of the cameras, I am sure I will put my head under the bed covers at night and there will be a few tears. I will deal with it though. It is not forever.
“He is really proud of me and I know he wouldn’t want me to be upset on TV, especially as he has got to face his friends at school. You know what teenagers are like!
“I hope the jungle experience will enable me to learn how to let go of my son. He is growing up and there will come a time when he goes off to University and he won’t want to come home again!
“I was involved in international sport for a long time and I made a lot of sacrifices. But those days were a long time ago now and I’ve been in my comfort zone.
This is going to be tough and I think the boredom levels will be hard.
“I am an avid watcher of the show and it’s easy to watch it in the comfort of your own home. I am not sure what it’s going to be like bedded in the jungle – but I will give it my best shot!”
Lack of food does not bother Fatima, who, aside from her hoard of medals, was also named BBC Sports Personality of the Year in 1987.
“We travelled around Eastern Europe a lot when I was in sport,” she recalls. “And we had to eat jellied eels and ropey bits of beef back then, so I am used to not eating enough. The lack of food doesn’t bother me. I will be concerned, however, about the others and how they are coping. Yes I am strong willed but I am also someone who likes to help and support others.”
Laughing, Fatima admits she hasn’t lost any of her competitive spirit. “I haven’t got a game plan for the Jungle but I am competitive,” she confesses. “I don’t expect to win but if I come out unscathed, then I will be happy.
“It would be nice to have a go at some of the trials. I think everyone wants to have a go and I’d be really pleased if I got a few votes. ”