Olympic gold medalist Mary Lou Retton and Paralympic medalist Danelle Umstead will look to make it a Team USA sweep in 2018 as they are set to compete on the fall season of “Dancing with the Stars.”
Olympic medalist figure skater Adam Rippon took the mirror ball trophy in the show’s spring season, the sixth member of Team USA to do so. Retton becomes the 32nd U.S. Olympian to compete on the show and the sixth gymnast, and Umstead is the third Paralympian and first skier from either the Olympic or Paralympic Games. Umstead also is making history as the first visually impaired contestant.
Retton, 50, won the all-around gold medal in gymnastics at the Olympic Games Los Angeles 1984, as well as a pair of silver medals in team and vault and bronze medals in uneven bars and floor exercise. At the time, her five Olympic medals made her the most decorated woman in American gymnastics. She was the first American woman to win an all-around gold medal, and nobody would match her until Carly Patterson in 2004. Retton will be paired with professional dancer Sasha Farber, who last season finished third with two-time Olympic figure skater Tonya Harding.
Umstead, 46, made her Paralympic debut in 2010 and won bronze medals in downhill and super combined. She defended her super combined bronze medal in 2014 and made her third Paralympic Games appearance last March. She competes with her sighted guide and husband, Rob, whom she met while skiing in New Mexico. Umstead is dancing with Artem Chigvintsev, who has previously teamed with two-time Olympic medalist figure skater Nancy Kerrigan and three-time Olympic snowboarding medalist Jamie Anderson.
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The 27th season of “Dancing with the Stars” gets underway on Sept. 24. Eleven other celebrities will be competing for the mirror ball: “Bachelorette” contestant Joe Amabile, radio host Bobby Bones, actor Juan Pablo DiPace, comedian Nikki Glaser, actress Evanna Lynch, actor Milo Manheim, actress Nancy McKeon, model Alexis Ren, actor John Schneider, singer/songwriter Tinashe and former NFL player DeMarcus Ware.
Todd Kortemeier is a sportswriter, editor and children’s book author from Minneapolis. He is a contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.