Tonya Harding, Adam Rippon and Mirai Nagasu Join Dancing with the Stars: Athletes
Get ready to see some of your favorite athletes like never before.
The cast of Dancing with the Stars: Athletes was announced Friday on Good Morning America, and the competition is about to heat up on the dance floor. During this shortened four-week cycle, 10 teams of athletes and pro dancers will go head–to-head for the coveted Mirrorball trophy.
Here is the full list of pairings:
Tonya Harding with Sasha Farber
It’s official! After much speculation, the most controversial name in figure skating —Tonya Harding — will be joining the show this season. She will be paired with pro dancer and newlywed Sasha Farber, who recently married his fellow pro Emma Slater in March.
A source who has known Harding, 47, for years previously told PEOPLE that she’s capable of learning to ballroom dance, but risks being compared to skating rival Nancy Kerrigan, who appeared on season 24 of DWTS last year, placing sixth.
Still, “Tonya gets ratings. God knows, she gets ratings,” the source said.
Kerrigan, 48, was clubbed on the leg at a practice before the 1994 national skating championships — beginning a bizarre saga that ultimately ended with Harding’s ban from the U.S. Figure Skating Association and her pleading guilty to conspiring to hinder the prosecution of those responsible for the attack.
Adam Rippon with Jenna Johnson
“If the opportunity came up, I would love to do it,” the 28-year-old told People Now of joining DWTS in March, adding that he thought it “would be fun.”
Though he’s no stranger to performing in front of crowds, Rippon said at the time that there’s one thing about being on the television show that he thinks would be difficult for him.
“I’ve never danced with a partner before,” he said. “So that would definitely be something challenging.”
“I’m worried because I just don’t know what I’m doing,” he continued. “So we’ll see. If the opportunity came there’d be a lot that I would need to do.”
Mirai Nagasu with Alan Bersten
Another standout figure skater from the Winter Olympics will be joining the series — Mirai Nagasu. Nagasu made history in February by becoming the first U.S. woman to land the notoriously tricky triple axel in an Olympic competition.
After she finished 10th overall in the women’s individual figure skating final, Nagasu made comments to reporters about wanting to compete on DWTS — and now she’s making it a reality alongside pro Alan Bersten.
“I smiled in the middle of my program, which is really rare for me. So I enjoyed myself and I thought of this as my audition for Dancing with the Stars,” Nagasu, 24, said.
Jokingly, she later explained her desire to be on the show: “I want to be a star.”
Jamie Anderson with Artem Chigvintsev
Snowboarder Jamie Anderson will be trading in her snowboard for dancing shoes. She’ll take lessons with pro Artem Chigvintsev.
The 27-year-old made the most of her first Winter Olympics in 2014 by earning a gold medal in the slopestyle snowboarding event in Sochi. And she hasn’t slowed down since, earning gold and silver at the annual Winter X Games in 2015, 2016 and 2017. Anderson — the fifth of eight siblings — has said the best advice she’s received is “find something you’re passionate about and really pursue it.”
During the 2018 Winter Olympics, Anderson cruised her way to another gold medal and kept her title as the only woman to hold Olympic gold in snowboarding slopestyle.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar with Lindsay Arnold
NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar will team up with the show’s reigning champion Lindsay Arnold, who won last season with Jordan Fisher.
The towering 7’2″ 70-year-old still holds the record as the leading point scorer in basketball. After retiring from basketball in 1989, Abdul-Jabbar has become an advocate for social justice issues and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama in 2016.
Arike Ogunbowale with Gleb Savchenko
Notre Dame’s national championship hero Arike Ogunbowale led her team to victory and made the cover of Sports Illustrated.
The 21-year-old will take on the competition with pro Gleb Savchenko.
Chris Mazdzer with Witney Carson
Chris Mazdzer won a silver medal in men’s singles luge at the Winter Olympics and became the first American to ever make the podium in that event.
He’ll be taking lessons from pro Witney Carson.
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Jennie Finch Daigle with Keo Motsepe
Former pro softball player Jennie Finch Daigle, 37, helped Team USA win a softball gold medal in 2004 and silver in 2008, and now she’ll be trying to score the DWTS winner’s title with pro Keo Motsepe.
Johnny Damon with Emma Slater
Retired professional baseball outfielder Johnny Damon played in the Major League from 1995 to 2012. Now he’ll be teaming up with Slater to try to hit a home run when it comes to the judges’ scores.
Damon, 44, met a bit of controversy in 2005 when he signed with the Yankees. After years of playing with the Red Sox, he was subsequently vilified by many Boston fans because of the team’s rivalry.
Josh Norman with Sharna Burgess
Josh Norman is a 30-year-old cornerback for the Washington Redskins, and was drafted by the Carolina Panthers in the fifth round of the 2012 NFL Draft after playing college football at Coastal Carolina.
Many consider him to be one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL, and he’ll be paired with pro Sharna Burgess on the show.
Season 26 of Dancing with the Stars premieres Monday, April 30 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.