Boxing legend Evander Holyfield and NFL great Jerry Rice paved the way for athletes on ABC’s Dancing With the Stars during the first two seasons in 2005 and 2006. Emmitt Smith famously traded his football cleats in for dancing shoes in Season 3, eventually becoming the first athlete to win. Since Smith’s achievement, 10 more athletes have been crowned champions and earned the show’s coveted Mirrorball trophy.
The athletes have brought a special kind of energy to the long-running reality show competition, so much so that ABC turned Season 26 into an athletes-only season, with energetic Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon defeating fellow finalists Josh Norman and Tonya Harding.
Now entering its 27th season, DWTS has revealed its newest competitors, which include three more athletes vying for the title: Super Bowl champion DeMarcus Ware, Paralympic skier Danelle Umstead and Olympic champion gymnast Mary Lou Retton.