Dancing with the Stars has several regular pools of talent they choose contestants from. There’s the NFL and reality TV, plus the Olympics and nostalgic personalities. Nancy Kerrigan represents the last two categories, a famous Olympic figure skater from the ’90s who was so popular (and embroiled in a famous scandal) that she was on the cover of Time Magazine.
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Now the 47-year-old mom is heading to DWTS. Does she still have the graceful, athletic prowess that led her to a Silver medal at the Olympics, or will age be a factor and hurt her chances at victory?
Pro: She’s an Olympic Figure Skater
Nancy is best known for her time as an Olympic figure skater in the early ’90s, particularly the iconic and controversial plot in which rival Tonya Harding had her attacked to try and win. That already ticks a lot of positive boxes for DWTS, particularly nostalgia and sympathy.
The other good news is that Olympians, particularly ice skaters, do extremely well as their grace, discipline and movement is a huge benefit. Kristi Yamaguchi, Meryl Davis and Apolo Anton Ohno are all past winners, Evan Lysacek finished in second and Charlie White finished in fifth (as did Ohno on the All-Stars season). Of course they were all younger than Kerrigan while the one older figure skater, Dorothy Hamill, was eliminated early. On the bright side, when Hamill competed she was nearly a decade older than Nancy is now.
Con: Her Age
Nancy is 47, which is no spring chicken. This competition is long and grueling, even for a former world class athlete. Only two people older than her have ever won, Donny Osmond and Jennifer Grey. The worst statistic is that in the last 10 seasons, no woman over 40 has ever made it to the finale. Since Ricki Lake finished third in season 13, the best a woman over 40 has done is finish in fifth place (Melissa Gilbert and Leah Remini).
Pro or Con: Artem Chigvintsev
This is Artem’s fifth season, and the bad news for Nancy is that he’s never done better than sixth place. While that lack of experience in the finals and semifinals hurts their chances, this year could be different because Artem has never been partnered with an athlete. He’s quite used to getting paired with an older lady, but all of his partners have been actresses or singers (Lea Thompson, Maureen McCormick, Mischa Barton and Patti LaBelle).
Maybe getting a different kind of partner will help Artem reach the next level. He can take what he’s learned in working with more mature women and apply it to Nancy.
Will Nancy join the elite list of Olympic skaters to win the Mirror Ball? At the very least, will she be able to take Artem farther than he’s ever gone in the competition?
Find out when Dancing with the Stars season 24 premieres Monday, March 20 at 8/7c on ABC.
(Image courtesy of ABC)