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Athletes have fared well on the ABC show “Dancing with the Stars” – can current Green Bay Packers receiver Donald Driver continue that trend on the new season? DWTS stars begins on March 19 — Place your Dancing With the Stars bets at WagerWeb.com.
Sports figures, particularly current and former NFL players, have fared well on the show. Hall of Fame running back Emmitt Smith won in 2007, a season after Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice finished second. Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward won in 2011.
Among other athletes to have made a strong transition from their field to the dance floor, short-track speedskater Apolo Ohno, IndyCar driver Helio Castroneves, figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi (beating just-retired defensive end Jason Taylor) and gymnast Shawn Johnson have all won. Former defensive end Warren Sapp also finished second in his season, as did Olympic gold medal figure skater Evan Lysacek.
Driver isn’t the only athlete in this field – tennis Hall of Famer Martina Navratilova, arguably the greatest female player of all time, is also competing.
Driver, 37, the Packers’ all-time leading wide receiver, said on his Facebook page: “I am looking forward to being on DWTS! Thank you to all of my great supporters, this will be a fun journey for all of us!” It’s not clear if Driver will be back with Green Bay this season as the Pack are pretty well stocked at receiver.
Among those joining Driver are Jaleel White (Urkel on TV’s “Family Matters), Melissa Gilbert (Laura Ingalls on “Little House on the Prairie”), actor Jack Wagner, Sherri Shepherd of “The View,” Maria Menounos (TV reporter for “Extra” who paid off a Super Bowl bet by wearing a bikini on the show), musician Gavin Degraw, William Levy (who’s been connected to singer/actress/”American Idol” judge Jennifer Lopez), Glady Knight (sans the Pips), Disney’s Roshon Fegan and mezzo-soprano Katherine Jenkins. Most believe Levy is the one to beat.
Driver’s partner is 31-year old Australian Peta Murgatroyd, who is in her second season on the show. Her previous partner was Los Angeles Lakers player Ron Artest, a.k.a. Metta World Peace. They were the first couple eliminated last season.
Here are the other pairings for the show:
White will partner with Kym Johnson.
Gilbert will partner with Maksim Chmerkovskiy.
Wagner will partner with Anna Trebunskaya.
Shepherd will partner with Val Chmerkovskiy.
Knight will partner with Tristan McManus.
DeGraw will partner with Karina Smirnoff.
Menounos will partner with Derek Hough.
Fegan will partner with Chelsie Hightower.
Levy will partner with Cheryl Burke.
Jenkins will partner with Mark Ballas.
Navratilova will partner with Tony Dovolani.