Dancing With the Stars Season 23 debuts next month, and the cast will likely include an Olympic champ who’s on a quest to be a mirrorball champ. In an interview posted by ABC News, Dancing With the Stars casting director Deena Katz said she is working on signing a big name for the 10-week celebrity ballroom competition, and all eyes are on the Olympics in Rio. Katz says past Olympians have always been a big draw on Dancing With the Stars.
“You know it worked with Shawn Johnson, it worked with Misty May [Treanor], it worked with Evan Lysacek, and that is our show, that’s America. I’ve talked to a lot of Olympians but, unfortunately for them, I can’t really lock someone in so it’s kind of like putting that call out and then they’re all just waiting.”
Katz said the Olympic athletes are “a little busy right now,” so it is all just a waiting game to see if one of them will sign on to DWTS. There have been rumors that swimmer Michael Phelps and gymnast McKayla Maroney are being considered for Season 23 of Dancing With the Stars, and both of them would be huge “catches” for the show, especially so soon after the Olympics. And fans definitely seem to be on board with the idea, as the games are in still full swing this summer in Rio.
Can we have a DWTS olympic gymnasts season??— SuperGymmie (@Supergymmie) August 16, 2016
You know how there's kind of a trend with Olympic gymnasts competing on #dwts? I'd love to see Laurie or Gabby on a season— ∂αиιєςє ♔ (@daniecetracey) August 11, 2016
This falls season of DWTS should only be Olympic athletes ????????— Deanna Aragon (@DeannaAragon) August 10, 2016
Since #DWTS is coming back Sep 12, I'm expecting JoJo from The Bachelorette & some Olympic athlete (likely Simone Biles) to be in the cast.— Frank Costa (@feistyfrank) July 23, 2016
Of course, Katz barely scratched the surface when mentioning Olympians who’ve competed on Dancing With the Stars. Olympic gymnasts Aly Raisman and Nastia Liukin, speed skater Apolo Ohno, soccer player Hope Solo, figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi, tennis player Martina Navratilova and Monica Seles, boxers Sugar Ray Leonard and Floyd Mayweather, and sprinter Maurice Green are just some of the Olympic legends that have competed on Dancing With the Stars in the past. And who can forget Olympic skating partners Meryl Davis and Charlie White? Davis went on to win the DWTS mirrorball trophy with partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy.
While the 23rd season of Dancing With the Stars could include an Olympic athlete, one past competitor says she didn’t always find the ABC dancing competition to be fair. According to Radar Online, Nastia Liukin wrote about her experience on Dancing With the Stars in her memoir.
Liukin, who was partnered with Derek Hough, called out producers of the show for their misleading editing, and she wrote that she was disappointed. The Olympian pointed to a specific DWTS rehearsal scene that aired as a pre-dance package in which it looked like she was arguing with Hough and Farber.
“The package showed us getting frustrated, then a producer asked me a question that had nothing to do with the show or what we were doing. Were we frustrated and exhausted at times? Of course. But we never had an argument, and that is what they tried to make out of it.”
Nastia said Dancing With the Stars producers made it look like she was a troublemaker in the segment, which she didn’t get to see before it aired on the live show.
“I was very disappointed in it, as I looked like a spoiled brat!… They took a single 30-second segment of an entire week and made me look like something I was not.”
While an Olympic champion would be a very big get, there is one person that Dancing With the Stars casting directors have been trying to get every season.
“You know, I ask Bill Clinton every time,” Katz revealed. “But this time, I actually didn’t ask him because I thought he might be a little busy.”
Take a look at the video below to see Aly Raisman talking about Olympic training compared to Dancing With the Stars training.
[Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images]