SAN DIEGO, Calif., April 13, 2018 – Don’t blink or you’ll miss the shortened four week Season 26 of “Dancing With The Stars,” Ten athletes making up a DWTS Cast of Champions from a variety of disciplines will compete for the Mirror Ball Trophy in record time. There are three figure skaters, a former NBA legend, Olympic medalists in softball and snowboarding, an Olympic luger, a Notre Dame NCAA women’s basketball sensation, a former World Series winning pitcher, and an NFL cornerback with the Washington Redskins.
The official cast announcement on Friday was preceded by a slew of social media leaks and flat out spoilers for many of the participants. But it’s now locked in and solid.
The Season 26 DWTS Cast of Champions includes:
ADAM RIPPON, U.S. Olympic bronze medal winning figure skater and former U.S. men’s champion, and will dance with Jenna Johnson.
ARIKE OGUNBOWALE, NCAA women’s basketball start at Notre Dame, and will dance with Gleb Savchenko.
CHRIS MAZDZER, two-time U.S. Olympic luger, and will dance with Witney Carson
JAMIE ANDERSON, two-time Olympic snowboarding gold medalist, and will dance with Artem Chigvintsev.
JOHNNY DAMON, retired Major League Baseball All-Star outfielder, and will dance with Emma Slater.
JOSH NORMAN, NFL star, Washington Redskins, and will dance with Sharna Burgess.
JENNIE FINCH DAIGLE, two-time Olympic medalist in softball, and will dance with Keo Motsepe.
KAREEM ABDUL-JABBAR, retired NBA star with the Los Angeles Lakers, and will dance with Lindsay Arnold.
MIRAI NAGASU, U.S. ladies’ figure skating champion and Olympic bronze medalist, and will dance with Alan Bersten.
TONYA HARDING, former U.S. figure skating champion and Olympic medalist, and will dance with Sasha Farber.
Ah yes, DWTS does it again with the stunt casting. DWTS considerd Johnny Manziel “too controversial.” Harding, 47, is in the spotlight again after the Oscar-winning film “I, Tonya” brought her infamous story back to America’s consciousness. Her nemesis Nancy Kerrigan is a former DWTS competitor. Bring on the comparisons of Nancy’s seaason to Tonya’s.
But in this shortened up season, there will be no time for the competitors to ramp up their skills. They have to be great right out of the gate. We are already liking the active figure skaters, as an early favorite. NFL stars and snowboarders have done well. So we’ll quickly make Adam Rippon, Mirai Nagasu, Josh Norman, and Jamie Anderson our early favorites.
Who is your early favorite to win the Mirror Ball Trophy?
“Dancing With The Stars: Season 26” debuts on Monday, April 30, at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a veteran boxing observer covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +
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