The all-athlete cast is ready to shake what their mamas gave 'em.

26 seasons strong, TV's favorite reality dancing competition is geared up for more twists and turns as their all-athlete cast is ready to sashay their way to the stage. Get ready for the new season of Dancing with the Stars which will premiere at 8 PM on April 30th on ABC. But this season, there's a shakeup… all 10 of the cast members are current or former athletes. They may know a thing or two about sportsmanship and stamina, but what about Samba and swing?

Softball meets sequins

Some may argue that sports stars have an edge when it comes to a show that is physically-oriented, but when was the last time you saw a linebacker doing the limbo? Athletes or not, season 26's contestants will be challenged, both physically and mentally. With grueling workouts and rehearsals and so much to learn in a short span of time, the sporty "stars" could be ready to throw in the towel before the first commercial break.

Sports stars are ready to shake things up

So, who's on the lineup? The athletes range in age, size, and respective sport, but they all have one thing in common – they are after the coveted mirror ball trophy and the respect and accolades that come with busting a move on the ballroom floor, beating out the others after four weeks of dancing their tails off.

  • Adam Rippon, Figure skater
  • Arike Ogunbowale, Notre Dame basketball player
  • Chris Mazdzer, Luger
  • Jamie Anderson, Snowboarder
  • Jennie Finch Daigle, Softball pitcher
  • Johnny Damon, MLB Baseball player
  • Josh Norman, NFL cornerback
  • Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, NBA champion
  • Mirai Nagasu, Figure skater
  • Tonya Harding, Figure skater

The diverse and talented cast is ready to shake those jazz hands and twirl their way towards the DWTS prize. Whether they Tango or tap dance, these 10 athletes are committed to creating an entertaining program that will have viewers at the edge of their seats. We can't predict who will come out on top just yet, but the competition is as fierce as it is fabulous. And a word of caution, Mirai, cover your kneecaps… Tonya's in the house.

Oy, Tonya!

For more info about the contestants, head over to review ABC's athlete's bios.

Melissa A. Kay is a New York-based writer, editor, and content strategist. Follow her work on PopDust as well as sites including TopDust, Chase Bank, P&G,, The Richest, GearBrain, The Journiest, Bella, TrueSelf, AMC Daycare, and more.

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Larry Kramer, AIDS activist and artist, passed away today at 84.

Kramer was known for his books Faggots and The American People, as well as climate-changing plays like The Normal Heart. His close friend and literary executor, William Schwalbe, told CNN that Kramer died of pneumonia."Larry made a huge contribution to our world as an activist but also as a writer," said Schwalbe, who had known Kramer for 57 years. "I believe that his plays and novels, from 'The Normal Heart' to 'The American People' will more than stand the test of time."

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THE REAL REEL | Getting Real About Tonya Harding

Tonya is like the kid in middle school you used to bully and still owe an apology to

I never thought I would have so much compassion for Tonya Harding, but that's clearly what the film I Tonya sets out to accomplish…and that is exactly what it does. It provides us with a compassionate portrayal of a young woman who, according to the film, experienced a very troubling childhood, setting her on a life course filled with some unavoidable challenges.

This film untangles the clearly over-simplified media circus that surrounded Harding in the 90's, taking us through her early life. Through a much more complex sociological lens, we see her economic background, we see her psychological background, and we see her gender…and all the expectations that come with being a female figure skater. We see it all and we feel horrible, because we judged. I judged her, I deemed her an evil anomaly that deserved to be thrown to the wolves. Oops. She's like the kid in middle school that you used to bully and still owe an apology to.

Too little too late?

I actually was in middle school at the time, and I can remember the story of the Nancy Kerrigan attack as a very simplified, clear-cut act of evil. Kerrigan was a "good girl" who fell victim to a "bad girl," Tonya Harding. This is what I (and seemingly the entire world) knew to be true. However, as the film I Tonya shows us…the entire world saw this incident just as simplified as a middle-schooler and even if the film took some factual liberties, in hindsight, it's easy for all of us to acknowledge that the truth is rarely that simple. Facts and details aside, it's much more likely that we got it wrong. So now that I have seen the film and done the palm slap to the forehead, I have to ask, 'what we can learn from this film'?

Bully or Victim?

Well for one, how often do we see one woman getting pinned against another woman? How often do we see a high achieving, powerful woman become demonized as an aggressive psychopath who has to be managed? Clearly I am putting aside the "facts" of this particular skating incident. I am not trying to prove Harding had no role or is completely without fault. I am no longer interested in the "details" of this famous debacle or Tonya's personal immunity. What I am interested in is how we can learn from it, how can we avoid partaking in such useless slander, particularly to women.

Cold as ice?

The Tonya Harding - Nancy Kerrigan tale had all the signs that it would be riviting. An upper class, well-dressed, cooperative girl, pinned against the money-less, rough, un-manicured, uncooperative girl. It was like a perfect little gift to the media, and simultaneously a cautionary tale to women all around.

It took about 24 hours to turn Harding into a monster as her entire life easily supported that narrative. She was uncouth, un-perfected, and came from near poverty. "Poor" in our country still translates as lazy, dirty, and worthless…even if you have Olympic-level talent. We still don't acknowledge that we live in a caste system. America loves to reference the rest of the world's "third-world" countries but we have one of the largest class wage gaps of any "developed" country on the planet.

America's "sweetheart"

Why do I care about this wage gap? I write a lot about racism, and sexism, but classism is just as pervasive and sometimes much harder to identify. In fact, I bet many of you reading this article can think of friends that are different ethnicities and religions than you are. I bet you have Jewish friends, black friends, white friends, atheist friends, Christian friends, Mexican friends, Asian, etc… but how many of us (self included) reading this article have close friends that use food stamps and have never attended a college or university?

This is class segregation. We live separate lives from people with different financial backgrounds, because once you are born into a class, you usually are funneled along, able to avoid "the others" who can't afford to navigate in your world. It's not a blame thing…it's a reality thing (though there are things we can do about class segregation).

So, what does this have to do with Tonya? Well if it looks like a rat, smells like a rat, and runs like a rat… no not Tonya… it's classism and sexism. So many times we are presented with sizzling "celebrity news" and fail to identify the mechanisms the media relies on (ubiquitous cultural 'isms' of all kinds, race, class, gender, etc.)… and don't call them out. We barely recognized the role sexism played in our country's failure to elect a clearly superior leader as president, who happened to be a female…the sexism in that case was the rat.

As we now attempt to dismantle a government that's replicating fascism, let us not get distracted by the failure to call out the divisive systems still at play. If our society were less segregated by class, there is no way we would have the president we have. I can't help but think that if middle and upper class people truly knew the entirely different life that poor people in this country led, the crappy public transportation they take to work, the cheap food they can afford to buy, and the rent increases that make moving twice a year a guarantee, perhaps there would be less anger and less delusions about a Bernie Sanders presidency (not that I personally would mind that). Perhaps there would be more grey areas, less all-evil or all-savior political systems; perhaps we could complicate our understanding of basic humanity.

In the meantime, Tonya…I'm sorry, I wish I could give you a do-over.


I, Rachel

By Rachel Hall, Rachel has a Masters in Cultural Gender Studies, and a BA in Communication & Culture, and works with all kinds of people to improve their ability to work with all kinds of people. She can often be found hiding in her laundry room from her two children. More about her on her website.

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