Notre Dame basketball player Arike Ogunbowale wowed NCAA fans when she sank a couple of well-timed, critical baskets to help her team win the NCAA women’s tournament this spring and now she’s headed to Dancing with the Stars: Athletes. Arike is partnering with professional dancer Gleb Savchenko and DWTS viewers are anxious to see them hit the dance floor. What do Dancing with the Stars viewers need to know about this new contestant?
According to her ABC profile, new Dancing with the Stars contestant Arike Ogunbowale is the youngest of three children and her father is originally from Nigeria. Arike’s dad Gregory was a rugby and soccer player during his younger days and her mom Yolande played softball at DePaul University. In addition, Arike’s older brother, Dare, played football for the University of Wisconsin.
“Arike” is a Yoruba Nigerian name and represents “something that you see and cherish,” and this Dancing with the Stars athlete was a standout basketball player at Milwaukee, Wisconsin’s Divine Savior Holy Angels High School. Ogunbowale told the Undefeated that both her mother and her father served as her coaches over the years and she describes her father as the more laid-back of the two while her mother gets more emotional about the ups and downs of Arike’s games.
— NOTRE DAME WBB (@ndwbb) March 31, 2018
NOTRE DAME… WOW pic.twitter.com/Vs3uR9a9nx
— NCAA WBB (@ncaawbb) April 2, 2018
Unfortunately, Ogunbowale and Savchenko may be at a bit of a disadvantage this spring due to NCAA rules, so “Team Mirrorballers” fans will need to be particularly diligent in getting their votes cast. As the Washington Post explains, the NCAA did give Ogunbowale a waiver that allows her to participate in Season 26 of Dancing with the Stars, as typically, college athletes would be prohibited from this type of opportunity.
However, Ogunbowale is not allowed to do DWTS commercials or other promotional materials. For example, Arike wasn’t on Good Morning America for the group appearance that the rest of the cast did, and Dancing with the Stars fans have noticed other promotional gaps for the team as well.
How much will these NCAA limitations hurt Arike and Gleb’s chances to build a solid following and voting block? Some Dancing with the Stars fans are worried about this aspect, especially during such a short season where pairs will be eliminated before the first episode is even over. Notre Dame alumni are already banding together to support Ogunbowale and Savchenko, so that should help, and Team Mirrorballer fans are hoping that the DWTS pair can beat the odds.
Dancing with the Stars: Athletes fans of Arike Ogunbowale and Gleb Savchenko can call 1-800-868-3402 to vote and they will want to cast every vote they can online as well to ensure their favorite duo stays in the competition. Can Arike and Gleb avoid elimination and scoop up the Season 26 mirror-ball trophy? Their supporters hope so and can’t wait to see them hit the dance floor together.