McElderry triumphs in The Jump

Salisbury Journal: Former X Factor champ Joe McElderry has won Channel 4's winter sports contest, The Jump Former X Factor champ Joe McElderry has won Channel 4's winter sports contest, The Jump

Former X Factor winner Joe McElderry has been crowned the champion of Channel 4's winter sports contest The Jump.

The singer jumped to victory, beating journalist Donal MacIntyre into second place in a final programme that had 15 minutes shaved off due to the other two finalists - Sir Steve Redgrave and comedian Marcus Brigstocke - having to pull out because of injury.

Sir Steve was close to tears in the scenes capturing the moment he took the decision to pull out after being left in agony during training, with his rivals also nursing a variety of bumps.

The Olympic gold medallist took a further tumble during a practice run this morning - after previously breaking a bone in his hand - and decided he could not carry on in the series, which has been beset by accidents that caused competitors to pull out.

In a further headache for programme bosses, fellow contestant Brigstocke had to be treated for an injury to his knee, which was strapped up in a splint.

He too was unable to take part in the show's ski jump finale, which was broadcast live from Innsbruck in Austria.

It meant the other two finalists McElderry and MacIntyre were left to fight it out between them, even though they too had been struggling on the slopes, with McElderry lucky to escape without injury during a skiing heat.

The latest dramas came as the remaining four stars were tackling the last of their challenges - "ski cross", in which competitors race down a slope featuring a number of tricky bumps and obstacles.

Sir Steve had been cleared to take part after he was left with bruising and a fracture after an incident last week that led to him missing a live show.

But as he tackled the course in a training run, he became hesitant about a large jump and as he manoeuvred to avoid it the rowing champion had a fall, leaving him in pain.

As he headed to the conveyor belt to try the course again, he decided he was not up to continuing in the contest and was emotional as he announced he was out of the show.

Sir Steve was barely able to fight back the tears as he spoke to the programme team after pulling out. As he struggled to compose himself on camera, he said he was "gutted" to have to leave the contest, adding: "I love my skiing, I love the show. I want to give my all - unfortunately I gave a little too much three days ago. That's it."

Later there was further injury as Brigstocke hurt his leg while racing MacIntyre and McElderry in the heat itself. The comedian was said to have "popped" his knee as he tackled the jump on the course and had to be treated by the programme's medical team.

Viewers of the programme have seen several contestants pull out of the programme due to their bumps. Socialite Henry Conway broke a bone in his hand and Melinda Messenger had to withdraw as a result of concussion suffered on the bobsleigh track.

It was Conway's withdrawal that led to a jump-off between McElderry and MacIntyre who were reserves for the programme.

Winning that particular competition, McElderry was drafted in first, but due to the continued injuries on the show MacIntyre was soon drafted in as a competitor too.

Tonight, McElderry jumped distances of 15 meters and 17.5 meters, beating MacIntyre's 12 meters and 13.5 meters.

The singer said his time on the show has been "absolutely incredible", and joked that the group became great friends through "sheer fear".

Other contestants on the programme included Sinitta, former TOWIE star Amy Childs, ex-England cricketer Darren Gough, former Pussycat Doll Kimberly Wyatt, TV presenters Anthea Turner and Melinda Messenger, and Ritchie Neville of reformed boyband 5ive.

Winter Olympics stars skier Graham Bell and skeleton gold medallist Amy Williams were among those training the hopefuls.

They were also coached by daredevil Eddie 'The Eagle' Edwards, who won last year's ITV Splash! highdiving contest, as he taught them how to ski jump.

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