With what competition does a gold-medal winner follow up the Olympic Winter Games? In Evan Lysacek’s case, it will be the ABC hit show “Dancing With the Stars.”
With an Olympic gold medal under his belt, Lysacek will now go after the much-coveted Mirror Ball trophy. The cast was announced last night during the season finale of “The Bachelor.” Lysacek will dance with pro Anna Trebunskaya (who will be in her fifth season with the show). She was the runner-up with partner and football player Jerry Rice in the show’s second season.
"I’m really excited to take on this new challenge,” Lysacek said. “The Olympics was my only focus the last four years, so it’s great to step outside my comfort zone and try something new while feeding my competitive fire.”
Joining Lysacek as contestants on the show will be Buzz Aldrin, Pamela Anderson, Erin Andrews, Shannen Doherty, Kate Gosselin, Niecy Nash, Chad Ochocinco, Jake Pavelka, Nicole Scherzinger and Aiden Turner.
The two-hour season premiere of "Dancing With the Stars" will air Monday, March 22 at 8 p.m. ET. The last figure skater to hit the ballroom was 1992 Olympic gold medalist Kristi Yamaguchi who pretty much ran away with the Mirror Ball trophy in Season 6.
This season celebrity pairings were announced on “Good Morning America” today.
There had been much speculation that Lysacek would join the cast, especially after he announced his withdrawal from the 2010 World Figure Skating Championships being held in Torino, Italy March 22-28.
That announcement came in the form of a press release from U.S. Figure Skating on Feb. 27. In the release, Lysacek said that although his 2009-10 competitive season will also end with the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, he will continue to compete. “I’m not afraid to lose,” Lysacek noted. “Regardless of medals, I still have so much to thrive on in the sport. I’m not ready to say good-bye.”
Lysacek will be one of the headliners on the Stars on Ice tour, which begins its run in April.
In the same release, Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto, 2006 Olympic silver medalists who finished fourth at the 2010 Games, also announced they will not at the 2010 Worlds Championships. "After much consideration following the conclusion of our event in Vancouver, Ben and I have decided to end our season with these Olympic Games,” Belbin said.
Belbin and Agosto plan to continue skating as well but have not decided if they will do so competitively or in shows. “We’re going to take some time while on tour with Stars on Ice this spring to consider our competitive plans for the future,” Belbin said.
Lysacek will be replaced in Torino by 2009 Skate America silver medalist Ryan Bradley (who was fourth at the 2010 U.S. Championships) , while Belbin and Agosto's spot will be filled by two-time U.S. bronze medalists Kim Navarro and Brent Bommentre (who were the fourth-place ice dance team at the 2010 nationals).
Ashley Wagner has announced she has withdrawn from the 2010 World Junior Figure Skating Championships in The Hague, Netherlands, and will be replaced by 2009 U.S. novice champion Kiri Baga.
In other U.S. Figure Skating news (this release came out in early February), 2009 U.S. champion Alissa Czisny announced was parting ways with long-time Julianne (Julie) Berlin. The two had worked together for 12 years.
"I have so much respect and appreciation for Julie, and I am extremely grateful for everything she has done for me during our time together,” Czisny said. “Julie has always believed in me and has provided me with every opportunity to grow and improve in my skating career. I will always be thankful for the experiences we shared and the memories we created together."
“For 12 years I have enjoyed developing Alissa into a national champion,” Berlin said. “It was great to see her reach her goals throughout the years and see her have success in international and national competition, and I wish her continued success as she pursues her skating career.”
Czisny, who has not yet announced a new coach, has been mentored the last couple of years by Olympic champion Brian Boitano and his former coach, Linda Leaver.