Olympic Gold Medalist Dorothy Hamill an Early Favorite to Win DWTS

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Olympic gold medal figure skater Dorothy Hamill, known as “America’s Sweetheart,” is  one of four athletes competing this year on Dancing With The Stars. She is paired with professional dancer Tristan MacManus.

Hamill was only 19 when she won Olympic gold in 1976 and quickly everyone wanted to be just like Dorothy. She admitted she didn't handle it very well, yet she skated on. Now 56, Dorothy is the oldest contestant on this season. You would have never known it by watching her Monday night.

Up against dance talent like 16-year-old Zendaya and athletic ability like Olympic gymnast Alexandra Raisman, Hamill confidently danced her first performance in a beautiful, elegant and flowing contemporary dance.

It was a joy to see Hamill perform, especially since five years ago the skater announced that she was being treated for breast cancer. She credits fellow gold medalist skater Kristi Yamaguchi (DWTS Season 6) with inspiring her.  Hamill told how watching Yamaguchi during her recovery made her a die-hard fan of the show and how it helped her recover from the devastating effects of her cancer diagnosis. Now she's looking to win the Mirror Ball herself.

Hamill, who is guest-blogging for the LA Times each week she competes on DWTS had this to say:

The pressure is quite different. With skating I had a comfort zone, and I had so many others who were helping me and invested their time and emotion in my skating. Skating was my life. I trained 11 years for the Olympics.  With dancing, I have only trained for three weeks. While I am outside my comfort zone and feel pressure to perform, I also am deriving such pleasure from it and the pressure is more personal to me and Tristan

Based on this week's performance, Hamill, who pulled in a 21 with her dancing to "Tiny Dancer," is an early (fan) favorite to win the season. 

@jschonb
dare to dream
Also online at prettytough.com and womentalksports.com

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