‘Dancing with the Stars’: Everything We Know About Season 26’s All-Athletes Star Cast
Dancing with the Stars fans are gearing up for another season of the reality dance competition. Season 26 will be unlike any other because this season is the first ever all-athletes edition.
In past seasons, athletes have done particularly well on the show. Several have even won the Mirrorball trophy, so this 26th season promises to be one most competitive yet. Here, we’ve compiled a list of all the celebrity athletes joining the cast and which pro dancer they’re partnered up with.
We also have more secrets about the upcoming season, including the one athlete who people are already calling “the one to beat” (page 5). Here’s everything we know so far about Dancing with the Stars: Athletes.
The new format
Season 26 will be DWTS‘ shortest season to date as it will only last four weeks. That means that the new season, which starts on April 30 and ends on May 21, 2018, will feature a double elimination every single week.
Prior seasons of the show have all lasted 10 weeks or more.
Next: This infamous figure skater has signed on.
Banished from the sport of figure skating for her involvement in the 1994 attack on Nancy Kerrigan, fellow figure skater Tonya Harding is one of the 10 contestants set to compete.
In 2017, Harding embarked on what some called a redemption tour with the release of her biopic I, Tonya. Her choice to join the cast will be another chance to try and repair her image. She will be partnered up with pro Sasha Farber.
Kerrigan actually appeared on Season 24 of DWTS. However, she was sent home in Episode 7 of the competition. Other Olympic figure skaters to win the Mirrorball trophy include Kristi Yamaguchi and Meryl Davis.
Next: This popular Olympian was the first to be confirmed.
Leading up to and during the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Adam Rippon won the hearts of so many Americans and the figure skater was one of the first athletes confirmed to be competing on the show. Rippon’s partner will be pro Jenna Johnson.
He won a bronze medal in the team skate at the Olympics and now has his sights set on winning the coveted Mirrorball.
Next: This gold medalist will be joining the cast.
Snowboarder Jamie Anderson, who won the gold in Sochi, Russia, and repeated that feat four years later in Pyeongchang, will be joining the cast of athletes as well for the upcoming season. She and pro dancer Artem Chigvintsev will be partners this season.
Fellow snowboarders Louie Vito Jr. and Amy Purdy have previously competed on DWTS.
Next: This Olympian and softball player will also be appearing.
Jennie Finch Daigle
“They’ve actually been wanting her on the show for years,” a source told Entertainment Tonight. “Finally, it’s working out and everyone is very excited. She’s great on camera and very competitive. She will be the one to beat.”
She’ll be competing with pro Keo Motsepe.
Next: This basketball legend will test his moves in the ballroom.
Basketball great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar will be strutting his stuff on the dance floor.
He is a six-time NBA champ and the tallest athlete to appear this season at 7-foot-2. His pro partner, Lindsay Arnold, is also a champ as she won the Mirrorball trophy in Season 25. We can’t wait to see if the pair can use their height difference as an advantage when they hit the ballroom.
Next: This retired MLB player will try to win it all.
Former baseball outfielder Johnny Damon is going to see what he can do in the reality competition.
Damon has World Series Championships with Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees and is now hoping he can add a Mirrorball trophy to that. We’ll be watching to see how well he does with his pro partner, Emma Slater.
Next: A Luger is also entering the competition.
Chris Mazdar is an American Luger and silver medalist who may be able to earn some more hardware for his collection.
The three-time Olympian will be paired up with Witney Carson as they lay it all out there in their quest for a Mirrorball trophy this season.
Next: This NFL player will see if his skills translate to the ballroom.
Josh Norman can cover wideouts on the football field but can he dance?
We’ll find out if the Washington Redskins cornerback can do just that as he competes for the Mirrorball trohy with pro partner and fan favorite, Sharna Burgess.
Next: This college basketball star has signed on too.
Notre Dame women’s basketball star Arike Ogunbowale has also signed on this season.
Ogunbowale hit the game-winning shots in both the semifinal and national championship games in the Women’s Final Four. She’s now ready to try and be a star again when she teams up with pro partner Gleb Savchenko.
Next: Another figure skater will take the floor.
Mirai Nagusu will also be trading in her skates to join the all-athletes cast.
Nagusu won a bronze medal in the team event in Pyeongchang and will now, along with pro partner Alan Bersten, look to dance her way to the finals and come out on top this season.
Next: Are all the judges returning?
Judges and hosts confirmed
It’s been confirmed that both Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews will be back to host the competition. More good news for fans: The three judges Len Goodman, Carrie Ann Inaba, and Bruno Tonioli will all be returning to critique the sports stars’ dances.
Julianne Hough, however, will likely not be back in the judge’s chair at all this season.
Next: Just how much dough are the athletes making?
How much do the athletes get paid?
One detail that people usually inquire about is just how much the contestants get paid to go on the show and if the winner gets a cash bonus.
In 2010, Gawker uncovered that contestants were paid on a sliding scale. So, each star received a flat of $125,000 for signing up but they make more based on how far they get. Anyone who makes it to Weeks 3 and 4 earn an additional $10,000 and that amount increases by $10,000 every week after that.
As for the winner, they get paid the same amount as the finalists who make it to the last week of competition with them, which is reportedly around $345,000 for the three finalists.
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