In the weird world of 2016, it seems anything is possible and it looks like that could include Ed Balls as the winner of Strictly Come Dancing. The former Labour shadow chancellor has been storming through the weeks of the BBC One reality show and his former rival, Greg Rutherford, has come out in defence of the controversial dancer.

Ed & Katya seen at the Pride Of Britain AwardsEd & Katya seen at the Pride Of Britain Awards

Olympic athlete Greg was the celebrity that bit the dust last weekend (Sat, November 19) but it seems he bears no ill will against Balls, 49 - who has previously wowed audiences at home with a salsa to Psy's Gangham Style.

Speaking on BBC Two's It Takes Two show, Greg - who appeared with partner Natalie Lowe - had something to say to fans.

"This is a bit of a plea to some of the people," Greg, 30, said. "I think people need to get off Ed's case if I'm honest.

"What people have to understand as well is that he's not as young as some of the other people, he's not in as great shape as some of the other people and he tries so incredibly hard."

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Greg was the ninth contestant to be sent home after appearing in the dreaded dance-off with fellow Olympian, gymnast Claudia Fragapane.

Long jumper Greg added: "[Ed] has zero dance experience. What I've noticed ever since the weekend is that a lot of people get on his case and that's not fair.

"He works as hard as anyone else and he's improving very well. And surely that's what this show is about as well?"