Dancing with the Stars has always been friendly to athletes, with Emmitt Smith, Rashad Jennings, Shawn Johnson, Kristi Yamaguchi, Donald Driver, Hines Ward and Apolo Anton Ohno among the many sporting figures to win the competition.
But for the show’s upcoming season, set to begin April 30, ABC is taking the athlete infatuation to the next level. Here’s the cast:
- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
- Mirai Nagasu
- Josh Norman
- Chris Mazdzer
- Jamie Anderson
- Johnny Damon
- Jennie Finch
- Arike Ogunbowale
- Tonya Harding
- Adam Rippon
Yep, that is an all-athlete cast, the first in the show’s history.
As usual following the Olympics, this group is packed with Olympians, including figure skater Adam Rippon, snowboarder Jamie Anderson, luger Chris Mazdzer, and figure skater Mirai Nagasu, who famously said that her performance in Pyeongchang was an audition for Dancing with the Stars. We’re glad that worked out for her.
But the biggest-name former Olympian on this list has to be Tonya Harding, the onetime villain of figure skating who received a bit of public redemption through last year’s biopic “I, Tonya.”
Other contestants will include former softball star Jennie Finch, newly minted basketball hero Arike Ogunbowale, ex-MLB All-Star Johnny Damon, and current Washington cornerback Josh Norman.
And then there’s the one guy who seems woefully overqualified for Dancing with the Stars: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the six-time NBA champion, six-time NBA MVP, all-time leading scorer, New York Times bestselling author, and public intellectual Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. You would think Kareem would have something better to do than compete on Dancing with the Stars, but if he wants to learn to salsa, more power to him.
The all-athlete edition of Dancing with the Stars will be a bit different from the usual iteration, condensed into only four weeks, as opposed to the typical 10 or 11.