OLYMPIC medallist Beth Tweddle has come face to face with a Russian ballet star at Chester’s Hammond School.

Beth, a contender to win the ITV celebrity talent show Dancing on Ice, met former Bolshoi and Royal Ballet dancer Irek Mukhamedov when she was at the Hoole Bank school for choreography and performance lessons with tap and jazz teacher Chrissie Eccleston-Tuohy.

After her performance on Sunday, January 6, judge Jason Gardiner described the UK’s most decorated gymnast as ‘robotic’ and talked of being ‘bored to Beth’. He said he was looking for more ‘more fluidity’ in her presentation when she returned two weeks later on Sunday, January 20.

Head judge Robin Cousins was much more complimentary, commenting on the three-time world champion’s technical prowess. He acknowledged that as a gymnast Beth was used to having ‘tension in every part of your body’ but pointed out that this was not required in a skater. He described her first performance, to Ellie Goulding’s Anything Could Happen as ‘spot on’.

Fellow judge and Pussycat Doll Ashley Roberts said Beth was ‘amazing’ although asked for more ‘sassiness’ and ‘chica’.

Hammond principal Maggie Evans said: “We were delighted to welcome Beth to the Hammond and hope that the additional skills she learnt from Chrissie Eccleston-Tuohy will ensure victory for her and Dan in Dancing on Ice.”

Beth is remaining silent about the choice of music for her second outing on the ice and would not disclose details of her costume, although agents Sports Partnership tweeted a picture of her in a bright pink sparkly outfit on the ice with fellow contestant Keith Chegwin.

Bookies William Hill have seen a run of money for Beth to win the competition and her odds yesterday were 9-4.

Eastenders actor Matt Lapinskas, with his partner Brianne Delcourt, is the current 11-10 favourite and the best of the rest is Gareth Thomas at 13-2.

William Hill spokesman Rupert Adams. said: “It sounds ridiculous but it looks like Dancing On Ice is Matt vs Beth, the others already look like also-rans.”

Beth was a guest on BBC’s Question of Sport last night and will be back on the ice on Sunday at 6.15pm.