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Do the Olympic athletes have an edge on Dancing with the Stars?

The upcoming 'Dancing With the Stars' season will include former Texas Gov. Rick Perry and 2016 Olympic athletes Ryan Lochte and Laurie Hernandez. Can Olympians dance? 

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Laurie Hernandez competes during the Rio Olympics.

Mike Blake/Reuters

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The celebrities who are appearing this season on “Dancing With the Stars” includes not only a former presidential candidate (former Texas Gov. Rick Perry) and two actresses likely best known for their 1970s TV appearances (Maureen McCormick of “The Brady Bunch” and Marilu Henner of “Taxi,” respectively) but also two well-known Olympic athletes, the newest in that group to compete on ABC’s dancing reality show.

Swimmer Ryan Lochte and gymnast Laurie Hernandez, who both competed in the recent Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, will both appear on “Dancing” when the season premieres on Sept. 12. 

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Mr. Lochte will compete with dancer Cheryl Burke, while Ms. Hernandez is partnered with Valentin Chmerkovskiy. 

Lochte and Hernandez join a group of more than 20 Olympic athletes who have previously appeared on “Dancing.” Athletes in general often do well on “Dancing,” with similar skills and training methods from their professions presumably carrying over to the pursuit of dancing. Nine “Dancing” contestants known primarily as pro athletes have won “DWTS,” with the show currently entering its 23rd season. 

Among the the athletes, multiple Olympians have won before as well, including speed skater Apolo Ohno, ice dancer Meryl Davis, gymnast Shawn Johnson, and figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi.

Meanwhile, Mr. Perry will be paired with dancer Emma Slater, Ms. McCormick will dance with Artem Chigvintsev, and Ms. Henner will appear with Derek Hough. 

Other celebrities appearing on the upcoming season of “Dancing” are actress Amber Rose, who will be dancing with Maksim Chmerkovskiy; Terra Jole, who is an executive producer of the Lifetime show “Little Women: LA” and will be dancing with Sasha Farber; rapper Vanilla Ice, who will appear with dancer Witney Carson; former Detroit Lions football player Calvin Johnson, who will dance with Lindsay Arnold; Jake T. Austin of the ABC Family TV show “The Fosters,” who is dancing with Jenna Johnson; singer Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, who is appearing with Allison Holker; James Hinchcliffe, who is a race car driver and will be dancing with Sharna Burgess; and singer Jana Kramer, who will be dancing with Gleb Savchenko.


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