Dancing with the Stars already has a frontrunner—and the competition hasn’t even started yet. Entertainment Tonight has revealed that Olympic softball star Jennie Finch will join the upcoming all-athlete edition of the ABC celebrity ballroom competition. And while the DWTS cast announcement is far from final, Finch is already being touted as “the one to beat.”
The ET insider revealed that Dancing with the Stars producers have been eyeing Jennie Finch for a long time, and the sports-themed 26th season was the perfect time for her to sign on to the hit show.
“They’ve actually been wanting her on the show for years! 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.”
As a college softball player, Jennie Finch set an NCAA record with a 60-game winning streak. Jennie is also a two-time Player of the Year and three-time All-American, winning the 2001 Women’s College World Series with the Arizona Wildcats at the height of her college career. As part of Team USA, the famed softball pitcher led her team to a gold medal at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens and a silver medal at the 2008 summer games in Beijing before the sport was dropped from the Olympic roster for good.
Jennie Finch’s reported turn on Dancing with the Stars comes 10 years after she competed on the NBC reality show Celebrity Apprentice. Then-host Donald Trump fired Finch in Week 4 of the celebrity-themed competition.
Finch told CBS News she was able to work with a great team of producers and coaches as she made her transition from softball superstar to media spokesperson and professional public speaker.
“I’ve been lucky to work with some great producers, broadcasting coaches, and media training gurus who are so good at teaching the big and little things,” Jennie told CBS. “It takes practice, like everything else, and I’ve learned what helps me and what doesn’t.”
The Jennie Finch casting scoop comes on the heels of recent reports that the Dancing with the Stars: Athletes season will also include Olympic skaters Tonya Harding and Adam Rippon as well as Olympic snowboarder Jamie Anderson, reports TV Guide. The four-week mini-season will feature six additional athletes.
ABC has not confirmed any of the Dancing with the Stars casting rumors. The official cast lineup for DWTS: Athletes will be revealed live on Friday, April 13 on Good Morning America. You can see a promo below.
Dancing with the Stars: Athletes premieres Monday, April 30 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.