Adam Rippon & Tonya Harding May Join ‘Dancing With The Stars’ & The Internet Is Already Rooting For Them
There's a rumor going around that's so juicy, it has to be true: Olympic figure skaters Adam Rippon and Tonya Harding might join Dancing With The Stars next season, according to Us Weekly. Rippon rose to fame ahead of the 2018 Olympic Games in PyeongChang, when his talent and social media presence became the talk of the town. He was one of the first openly gay U.S. Winter Olympians, so there's that to admire, too. In the 1990s, Harding smashed records by becoming the first woman to land a triple axel in competition. Her skating career was overshadowed — and eventually ended by — the controversy surrounding the attack on Harding teammate Nancy Kerrigan. Harding flew under the radar for years, until the Oscar-winning film I, Tonya brought her and her story back into the spotlight.
Us Weekly first reported on Wednesday that Rippon and Harding might be tapped for the upcoming season of ABC's long-running hit, and if it's true, can you imagine the looks they'll serve? Also, which one will perform a routine to "Gloria" by Laura Branigan? Someone has to. Though Rippon and Harding are both U.S. Winter Olympians, Rippon is universally beloved. Harding, meanwhile, remains a "divisive" fixture of pop culture. If ABC hires both figure skaters for the same season, it's a guaranteed ratings success. And they must know that.
The next season of Dancing With The Stars is thought to be an "all-athlete" competition, according to USA Today. ABC has not commented on the rumors, but that doesn't mean fans can't start popping their popcorn in preparation. Also, an all-athlete season wouldn't be unusual. Olympic stars like Apolo Anton Ohno have competed on the show in the past. It's almost a surprise that the series hasn't done more themed competitions, especially during Olympics years, for example. After Rippon's debut into the household name hall of fame and Harding's return to headlines, it's a no-brainer. Please, please let this be confirmed ASAP. The outfit possibilities. The live TV reactions. The shade. Oh, think of the shade. It's just beautiful.
As stated above, Dancing With The Stars is about to enter its 26th season. The reality ballroom dance competition was must-see TV at the beginning of its reign, but viewership (and interest in general) has fallen off over the years, according to Variety. The mere addition of Rippon or Harding to the cast would be enough to ensure a ratings bump, but both figure skating stars in an all-athlete competition? That's guaranteed (pardon the Olympics pun) gold.
Per Vulture, ABC will reveal the complete lineup for Dancing With The Stars Season 26 on Friday, April 13. That's more than enough time for the rumor mill to go to work. Further, since only three names have leaked — Rippon, Harding, and gold medalist Jamie Anderson — it can feel like their presence on the show is a given. Again, though, nothing has been confirmed. Yet.
Considering the media dubbed Rippon America's Sweetheart, and Harding is perhaps the most notorious former member of Team USA, it would be fascinating to watch the show's dynamic. How will that play out, and how much will the show emphasize it? Will Rippon and Harding honor each other's most iconic routines? Will Margot Robbie be there to support Harding, and will Rippon's boyfriend support him to the end? Hopefully, the answer is a resounding "yes" to all of these things. Just imagine Twitter's reaction to Harding bonding with Rippon. The internet is practically begging for it.
Here's hoping Dancing With The Stars Season 26 really does cast these two athletes for its next season. Haters need not tune in.