Strictly Come Dancing’s Ellie Simmonds said that she has “already” been at the receiving end of nasty abuse online following her first performance on Saturday night.
The Paralympic swimmer previously detailed her fears of being in the dance-off and getting no votes ahead of her Cha Cha Cha to Dance by DNCE with pro partner Nikita Kuzmin.
Despite her routine being a hit with the judges, the 27-year-old was left devastated after she was targeted by trolls on social media who commented on the height difference between her and Kuzmin.
Simmonds, who is 4ft, admitted that the horrible commentary is “sad” and has affected her confidence.
Speaking to The Sun, she said: “I’ve had it already. Some people have said, ‘How’s the dwarf going to dance?’ It’s sad and it does get to you.
“When I got the call, I did wonder whether I should do it. Then I thought I’d do a leap of faith. You don’t know until you try.”
The sports star has achondroplasia dwarfism which causes a normal-sized torso and short limbs.
And while keyboard warriors try to break her down, Simmonds explained ahead of her appearance that her motive to take part in the BBC ballroom was to show that the series is for everyone, stating at the time: “If I can do it, people watching can, too.”
She added: “If only I had this as a child, watching someone with dwarfism on a dancing show… It’s amazing for disability representation and moving forward.”
As Britain’s youngest Paralympian, entering the Beijing 2008 games at just 13, Simmonds also made Strictly history as the first person with dwarfism to join the celebrity cast.
The athlete did herself proud on Saturday as she kicked off her Strictly campaign, earning a respectable 26 points for her Cha Cha Cha.
Discussing her routine, dancer-turned-judge Anton Du Beke said: “You powered across the floor, you went, ‘OK, here we go, have some of this’.
“Your side-by-side work was great, your timing was excellent. It was good.”
“I have to agree with Anton, the timing, your attitude, the rhythm, your isolation. It was excellent,” agreed Craig Revel Horwood.
While Motsi Mabuse added: “I absolutely love this team. What I love is this focus, you understand what the dance was about. Allow yourself to enjoy it even more. I loved it.”