Dancing with the Stars 2018 won’t air until the end of April, but speculations over who’s going to be on the all-athlete cast is already kicking off. The latest name to pop up is Tonya Harding, who’s enjoying some renewed fame — and it’s not all bad. She was once one of the most hated individuals in sports after she was linked with the attack against competitor Nancy Kerrigan before the 1994 Olympics. Kerrigan went on to win the silver medal in women’s figure skating and Harding denied she had anything to do with her boyfriend’s assault on Kerrigan.
Tonya Harding is played by Margot Robbie in the film I, Tonya and is reportedly portrayed as more of a victim than a villain. After she was praised by actress Allison Janney at the Golden Globe Awards on Sunday, she’s obviously in the middle of an image overhaul. Does this mean she’s set to appear on the Dancing with the Stars Season 26 cast?
Page Six spoke with David Johnson, CEO of Strategic Vision PR, about Harding and her improved image. He explains that the marketing of I, Tonya has “softened up the image of Tonya Harding” by making her a “sympathetic person.”
The film focuses on Harding’s rough upbringing rather than her scheming ways against Kerrigan. She was painted as a victim of an abusive mother and husband. Janney, who plays Harding’s mother in the film, praised Tonya in her acceptance speech at the Golden Globes.
“I’d like to thank Tonya for sharing her story with [writer] Steven [Rogers], and allowing him to tell all the different sides of the story,” Janney said.
The actress went on to share how the movie tells a story about “class in America” and how it affects the “disenfranchised.” Janney went on to say that Harding wasn’t “embraced for her individuality” and the film highlights the truth and perception of what that is versus what’s been reported in the media.
Movies have a lot of power, and so does positive press for even the most unpopular figures in society. Will Tonya Harding’s star continue to shine over the movie and attention she’s getting? Johnson says fans shouldn’t be surprised if the embattled figure skater will appear alongside other “has-beens” on Dancing with the Stars‘ 2018 spring season or another reality show.
“Don’t be surprised if you soon see Harding alongside other has-beens on ‘Dancing with the Stars'” https://t.co/ucW7wU32C2
— Page Six (@PageSix) January 9, 2018
According to the report, it’s unlikely that Harding will be ” welcomed into the commentary box — movie magic can only do so much.”
“I don’t think she can be redeemed that far,” he said.
TV Line reported in November that there will be 10 athletes competing on the spring season of DWTS. In the 25 seasons that the hit reality show has aired, 10 world-class athletes have won the Mirror Ball trophy. Those winners include former NFL players Emmitt Smith, Rashad Jennings, Hines Ward, and Donald Driver; Olympic gold medalists Kristi Yamaguchi, Apolo Anton Ohno, Meryl Davis, Laurie Hernandez, and Shawn Johnson; and race car driver Helio Castroneves.
Dancing with the Stars Season 26 will premiere on ABC Monday, April 20, at 8 p.m. ET/PT.