‘Dancing With the Stars: Athletes’ Cast Talks Pre-Competition Jitters & Rituals

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ABC/Craig Sjodin
ABC/Craig Sjodin

Mirai Nagasu

Partner: Alan Bersten

The 2018 Winter Olympian who landed a triple axel says, “I’m so used to competing by myself I’m really excited to have a partner out there and get through a competition with someone else.”

As far as any pre-competition rituals, Nagasu plans to eat lots of carbs with Bersten who doesn’t have any problems with pasta dinners!

ABC/Craig Sjodin

Jamie Anderson

Partner: Artem Chigvintsev

The gold medal-winning snowboarder is most nervous about “dancing on a stage.”

“I’m pretty intimidated by the first show,” she says. “The Olympians are pretty competitive. Our group text is fire.”

ABC/Craig Sjodin

Jennie Finch Daigle

Partner: Keo Motsepe

The softball player thinks her edge is her “mental toughness, body control, stability,” which will all help her during the show. However, she also says she needs to “learn to be graceful.”

ABC/Craig Sjodin

Chris Mazdzer

Partner: Witney Carson

The luger admits he’s “nervous but ready” to learn all the dances. “I’m excited about the Argentine tango. It’s the unknown. Listen to Witney, that’s what I have to do.”

Mazdzer is already visually preparing as well — “One of the biggest things as an athlete is the mental preparation. When it does come time to perform, my body will be on autopilot and it’ll just flow.”

ABC/Craig Sjodin

Tonya Harding

Partner: Sasha Farber

The former figure skater is worried about “not knowing anything about real dancing.”

“I’m not 24 anymore so that’s probably going to a little bit of an obstacle but I’m here to bring it.”

Adam Rippon holds up his skates for Dancing With The Stars: Athletes
ABC/Craig Sjodin

Adam Rippon

Partner: Jenna Johnson

The Olympic bronze-medalist is hoping to do a contemporary dance because “that dance would be a little more free. I’ve never partnered with anyone so that’s a new experience but we’re gonna have a great time.”

And Rippon can’t wait for the costumes. “Double mesh, single mesh. Yes!”

ABC/Craig Sjodin

Josh Norman

Partner: Sharna Burgess

The NFL star is nervous about the shortened season. “Gotta throw the kitchen sink in!” he confesses.

He wants to also bring awareness to his foundation, Starz24.

And something else on Norman’s mind is the tango dance scene from one of his fave movies, The Mask of Zorro, which he wants to recreate it on the show. “I’m telling you, it’s so great! It’s so hot!”

ABC/Craig Sjodin

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Partner: Lindsay Arnold

The 6x NBA champ and his partner are going to be using his 7-foot-2 frame to their advantage. “I wanna do the salsa with Kareem,” she says.

“I think learning the choreography will be something hard at first but something I can manage,” he says.

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These sports pros are ready to put on their dancing shoes!

ABC announced on Friday the cast for the upcoming 26th season of Dancing with the Stars featuring athletes only. The notable sports pros include Olympians Adam Rippon, Chris Mazdzer, and Mirai Nagasu, just to name a few.

The cast chatted with TV Insider about tackling their nerves, learning choreography, and the pre-competition rituals they do for good luck.

Click through the galley above to find out what everyone said.