Dancing With The Stars 2018: Full Cast For Season 26’s All-Athletes Edition Revealed
Since really hitting its stride in season three, Dancing With the Stars has aired every September and March without fail, so fans were beginning to panic when March 2018 came and went and there was no word of season 26. Luckily, there is nothing to fear as season 26 will premiere on April 30, 2018 and on Friday, April 13, the full cast for season 26 was revealed on Good Morning America! Season 26 might have been delayed, but it could be because of some changes including welcoming a new showrunner and featuring for the first time ever an all-athlete celebrity cast. Longtime Dancing With the Stars fans will also notice an absence of some longtime pros including Val and Maks Chmerkovskiy and Peta Murgatroyd. After many rumors and some sneak peeks, check out the full cast for season 26 of Dancing With the Stars: Athletes:
10. Arike Ogunbowale and Gleb Savchenko
Arike Ogunbowale is still riding the waves of being named the Most Valuable Player after the 2018 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Tournament in which her school Notre Dame won it all. The talented basketball player may only be a junior, but she is used to winning after being a 5-time USA Basketball medalist (four golds and one silver). She will have to see if her natural athleticism translates to the dancefloor with her pro partner Gleb Savchenko who is heading into season 26 with only four other seasons as a pro under his belt. The closest he has come to a win was in season 23 when he and actress/singer Jana Kramer placed fourth.
9. Chris Mazdzer and Witney Carson
American Olympian Chris Mazdzer shined bright at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang when he took home the silver medal in the Men’s Single Luge, making him the first ever American athlete to win a medal in the event. Now Mazdzer is hoping to take home more than second place as he competes in season 26 of Dancing With the Stars with professional partner Witney Carson. Carson is looking to replicate her iconic season in season 19 when she and actor Alfonso Ribeiro took home the Mirrorball Trophy in one of the show’s most memorable seasons.
8. Mirai Nagasu and Alan Bersten
Mirai Nagasu has been stunning audiences on the ice for her whole life as she was one of the youngest figure skaters to win a national title back in 2008, and most recently became the first American female figure skater to land a triple axel at the Olympics and only the third woman from any country to do so during her free skate at the 2018 Winter Olympics, and also earned a bronze medal in the team event. A Mirrorball Trophy would definitely look nice next to her other athletic accomplishments and Alan Bersten is the pro dancer who is hoping to help her get it! Season 26 marks Bersten’s second appearance as a pro, and a big win would make him one to watch for seasons to come.
7. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Lindsay Arnold
For basketball fans, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is a man who needs no introduction! The NBA’s all-time leading scorer and all around NBA legend is joining season 26 to hopefully add to his already impressive list of athletic feats. There is no doubt his 7’2″ frame is going to pose a challenge for his pro partner Lindsay Arnold who stands at only 5’6.” Of course as the reigning winner from season 25, Arnold will not let any obstacle come between her and defending her title, so all eyes will be on Arnold as she leads Abdul-Jabbar on to a much different hardwood floor than he is used to.
6. Jennie Finch Daigle and Keo Motsepe
Jennie Finch Daigle is the most iconic women’s softball star in the sport, but she is going to have to step out of her comfort zone and off the mound for her turn on the dancefloor. After a career of winning including a 2004 summer Olympics gold medal win, Finch retired from softball in 2010 and is looking for a new challenge with her pro partner Keo Motsepe. Motsepe has a previous six seasons of experience as a pro, but unfortunately has struggled to reach the winner’s circle that his athlete partner is so used to in her career. Here is hoping this is finally Motsepe’s season with Finch by his side!
5. Johnny Damon and Emma Slater
Major League Baseball is one of the least represented sports on Dancing With the Stars over the previous 25 seasons, but iconic major league player Johnny Damon is ready to leave his mark on the dancing world. Damon won the 2004 World Series with the Boston Red Sox and then the 2009 World Series with the New York Yankees. The 44-year-old has been paired with Emma Slater, and one thing is for sure she won’t bet taking it easy on him. Slater won first place with NFL player Rashad Jennings only two seasons ago and will be looking for the same results from another pro athlete partner.
4. Jamie Anderson and Artem Chigvintsev
This year’s past winter Olympics in PyeongChang brought a lot of athletes into the international spotlight, and Anderson is another Olympian who is stepping off the slopes right into the ballroom. Anderson is a 15 time X Games medalist and most recently defended her gold medal in Slopestyle at the 2018 Winter Olympics. There is no doubt that Anderson is up to face any challenge — and defeat it — and she has a good shot at another win after being matched up with pro dancer Artem Chigvintsev. Artem has competed in six previous seasons of Dancing With the Stars and has yet to come in first, most recently placing seventh with Nikki Bella in season 25.
3. Adam Rippon and Jenna Johnson
Adam Rippon stole the show during the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang where his eccentric personality was just as entertaining as his incredible figure skating. Rippon took home the bronze medal alongside his figure skating team at the most recent Olympics and back in 2016 was the winner of the 2016 U.S. Men’s Championship title. Figure skaters have done well on Dancing With the Stars in past seasons, so Rippon will be one to watch alongside Jenna Johnson who only has one season as a pro dancer under belt from back in season 23 when she and actor Jake T. Austin were the first couple eliminated. Of course with her real-life love Val Chmerkovskiy not participating in the season, maybe she will have some veteran help in her corner to elevate herself and Rippon above the competition.
2. Tonya Harding and Sasha Farber
Disgraced figure skater Tonya Harding seems to be having somewhat of a comeback after the release of the award-winning film based on her life I, Tonya. While she is best known for the scandal in which her top competitor, Nancy Kerrigan, was attacked and hit in the knees ahead of the 1994 Olympics and Harding was accused of orchestrating the attack with her ex-husband. For season 26, Harding will be competing with Sasha Farber who is back after a one season break and hoping for his first major Dancing With the Stars win in his fifth season as a pro.
1. Josh Norman and Sharna Burgess
Washington Redskins cornerback Josh Norman is one of the most dominant players in his position in the NFL and in 2016 signed a contract which made him the highest paid cornerback in NFL history at the time. Luckily for him, Norman has been paired with one of the most veteran pro dancers participating in the season, Sharna Burgess. The talented dancer is entering her 11th season as a pro, and although she has come close with two second place finishes and one third, she has yet to claim a Mirrorball Trophy, and is hoping Josh Norman’s quick feet on the football field will translate well onto the dance floor.