After watching the Rio Olympics, many Dancing with the Stars fans are eager to see a gymnast compete on Season 23 of the ABC reality competition. Unfortunately, the Final Five will likely be too tied up with other obligations to make time for DWTS, but this doesn’t mean that fans of gymnastics won’t get their wish. There’s mounting evidence that 20-year-old Fierce Five member McKayla Maroney is joining the Season 23 cast, and Mark Ballas may be her partner.
In an August 15 tweet, a Dancing with the Stars fan pointed out that McKayla Maroney recently started following Mark Ballas on Twitter. Almost every season, a celebrity spoils their casting on DWTS by following their partner’s social media accounts ahead of the official cast announcement. As PureDWTS points out, this happened last season with Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown and his partner, Sharna Burgess.
However, it’s also possible that McKayla began following Mark Ballas because she noticed that he’s been tweeting up a storm about her former teammate, Aly Raisman. Aly was Mark’s partner on Season 16 of Dancing with the Stars, and he couldn’t be more thrilled that she’s done so well in Rio.
Words can't describe how proud of this girl I am, I teared up watching her finish her floor routine last night, I remember having chats about her going to the RIO Olympics, I got to experience this girls tremendous hard work & dedication first hand, she will never shy away from a challenge or let anything hold her back no matter what obstacle lays ahead of her. Not only is she an incredible athlete & student but has a heart made of pure gold, always kind, always caring & always genuine. I'm so proud of you @alyraisman Congratulations. #YouAreTitanium #TeamRaisNBall #rio2016
McKayla’s Twitter follow certainly isn’t definitive evidence of anything, but there are other plenty of other signs that she may be signing on for Season 23 of DWTS. For one thing, she’s not listed as one of the gymnasts joining the upcoming 2016 Kellogg’s Tour Of Gymnastics Champions. Three of her former Fierce Five teammates — Gabby Douglas, Aly Raisman, and Jordyn Wieber — will show off their gymnastic skills during the 36-city tour, which stars in mid-September. All-around champs Nastia Liukin and Simone Biles have also joined the cast.
As Dance Network TV correspondent Kristyn Burtt points out, Olympic gymnasts have very full schedules after the games end. This is why they usually compete on spring season of Dancing with the Stars. However, McKayla Maroney did not compete in Rio, so she doesn’t have the same obligations as Final Five members Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas, Aly Raisman, Laurie Hernandez, and Madison Kocian. As The Inquisitr previously reported, Maroney also announced that she was retiring from gymnastics in February of this year, so she doesn’t have to worry about Dancing with the Stars interfering with her training like some of the other girls do.
Maroney actually has expressed an interest in competing on DWTS before. In 2012, she and the other Fierce Five members made a brief cameo during one of Shawn Johnson and Derek Hough’s Season 15 dances.
“I definitely would [do DWTS]!” Maroney told Us Weekly after the performance. “It would just be an amazing experience.”
Perhaps the biggest hint that McKayla Maroney is joining Season 23 of Dancing with the Stars is her presence on Good Morning America. The ABC morning show is on the same network as DWTS, so this could be a sure sign that someone has at least talked to her about the possibility of competing for the Mirrorball Trophy. As UPROXX reports, she reminded Good Morning America viewers that she’s not just a celebrity because she’s an Olympian with a gold and silver medal; she’s also famous for creating one of the internet’s most beloved memes. Perhaps busting out her “not impressed” face during a dance routine would help McKayla score points with DWTS fans.
— Good Morning America (@GMA) August 9, 2016
Joining Dancing with the Stars could possibly help Maroney achieve her new dream of becoming a pop star. She recently told Us Weekly that she’s been recording music, and she’s set to drop a single titled “Ghost” on September 8. According to Maroney, getting people to take her seriously as a singer has been tough.
“I would go and meet people and they’d tell me, ‘You’re the gymnast.’ And I’m like, now that I’m no longer a competing gymnast, it throws people off and that would throw me off. I don’t want to let people down. It was such a big test for me to be like, you know what? No! I’m worth more than a gold medal. I’m worth more than being a gymnast.”
By competing on Dancing with the Stars, McKayla Maroney would be able to prove that she can do more than tumble and make silly faces, and she could also use her appearance on the show to promote her music.
As Buddy TV reports, the Dancing with the Stars Season 23 cast will likely be announced August 30 on Good Morning America, and the show will premiere Monday, September 12 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.
[Photo by Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images for GBK Productions]