Fans reacted quickly to the controversial casting of skating superstar Tonya Harding to the first installment of the show’s special four-week season of Dancing with the Stars Athletes.
Tonya’s involvement in a conspiracy to keep former skating rival Nancy Kerrigan out of the 1994 national skating championships tarnished her skating career and has remained the singular standout event in her legacy, despite a series of championship wins years earlier.
Nancy was attacked at a practice for the event by being clubbed on the leg.
This began a downward spiral for Tonya, a former Olympic hopeful, which ended with her ban from the U.S. Figure Skating Association and pleading guilty to conspiring to hinder the prosecution of those responsible for the attack.
Fans couldn’t contain themselves on Twitter about Tonya’s casting, and their comments ranged from the sympathetic to the hysterical.
“Hmmmmm all the other athletes on @DancingABC better watch their backs with #TonyaHarding competing against them…” quipped another.
“DWTS announced #tonyaharding as a contestant. Question. Do they really KNEED her???” remarked a viewer.
“I always felt Tonya Harding got screwed. I knew it wasn’t what happened & they would ruin her for money & image, but no clue of what a torment her life was. May God help her be happy,” said a sympathetic fan of the skater.
The infamous attack on Nancy Kerrigan, who competed in Season 24 of the ABC competition show, brought Tonya back into the spotlight thanks to the Oscar-nominated film I, Tonya starring Margot Robbie.
Tonya Harding will be paired with dance pro-Sasha Farber.
Sasha tweeted the following about being paired with the skating pro.
“I am beyond excited and honored to be dancing with Tonya Harding this season on @dancingabc I can’t wait for you all to see her moves. What should our team name be? #tonyaharding”
The complete list of athletes and pros is as follows:
Adam Rippon with Jenna Johnson
Mirai Nagasu with Alan Bersten
Jamie Anderson with Artem Chigvintsev
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar with Lindsay Arnold
Arike Ogunbowale with Gleb Savchenko
Chris Mazdzer with Witney Carson
Jennie Finch Daigle with Keo Motsepe
Johnny Damon with Emma Slater
Josh Norman with Sharna Burgess
Will you be watching? Let us know in the comments section below.
Season 26 of Dancing with the Stars premieres Monday, April 30 on ABC.