By Nancy Kerrigan, Two-Time Olympic Figure Skating Medalist | March 21, 2017, 4:37 p.m. (ET)
Nancy Kerrigan poses with partner Artem Chigvintsev before the first episode of season 24 of "Dancing with the Stars."

 

Nancy Kerrigan won figure skating bronze and silver at the 1992 and 1994 Olympic Winter Games. Follow along as she blogs for TeamUSA.org each week during her journey on season 24 of “Dancing with the Stars.”

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It was a long day but when it was over, it sure felt good.

I had been looking forward to my first show day for “Dancing with the Stars” for several days. We had worked hard and rehearsed a lot. I felt like I knew the dance and was comfortable with my partner, Artem Chigvintsev.

Of course, as a competitive athlete I am always challenging myself to do better – but I felt ready.

What I wasn't really ready for was the 15-hour day that accompanied opening night! What a schedule:

6:45 a.m. – car pickup
7 a.m. – rehearsal with the band
7:40-11 a.m. – hair and makeup
11 a.m. – cast meeting
12 p.m. – dress rehearsal
3 p.m. – more hair and makeup
4 p.m. – final preparation
5 p.m. – live show
7 p.m. – press line
8:30 p.m. – finish press and pack up

I had a good time with it all, except perhaps the hair and makeup. Three hours to do what I normally do in 20 minutes was a little painful, but then again they did a really nice job so it is worth it...but maybe next week we can cut that prep time down a bit!

I was surprisingly calm before the show. I had my family and some friends in the audience and was able to talk to them before the show. But the nerves kicked in right as the show was about to begin.

The show opening was simple enough for me to learn and it was exciting to be part of the show. I had watched it a hundred times before so I knew what to expect, but it's always a little different when there is a full house, the lights come on and it's "go time."

But as the show unfolded I realized I was having a ton of fun – so much so that I wanted to do my dance again. And not to get better scores. We got all 7s, which was good. I wanted to experience the whole atmosphere one more time. The live band, the lights, the crowd in close proximity – but mainly the feeling of the dance.

I have come to realize that dancing is so much different than skating. The moves of the Viennese Waltz are, in some cases, very opposite to skating. Even the turns go in a direction that is opposite to the way I normally spin.

So I was doing something really different and new. And it was a huge adrenaline rush to learn something so new and then perform it and have that performance appreciated.

We ended week one tied for third. Not bad. But regardless, it was a great experience.

I will never forget it...but now on to week two!