Dorothy Hamill is trading her ice skates for dancing shoes to compete on the 16th season of “Dancing With the Stars.”
Hamill became America’s sweetheart when she won the Gold Medal at the 1976 Winter Games in Innsbruck, Austria, wowing audiences with her envelope-pushing spins on the ice and her iconic hair.
“I’m used to being on skates and pushing and gliding this way….I don’t do well in shoes. I have spent most of my life in ice skates. I’m sure for [pro partner Tristan McManus] it must be kind of frustrating because he says, ‘Just step forward,’ and I go, ‘Whoosh,’” she explained, gesturing a graceful, gliding motion from figure skating.
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Hamill, 56, is the oldest contestant in the new celebrity line-up this season, and said she has been fitting in “Dancing” rehearsals while skating as part of “Stars on Ice” tour.
“I’m not ready yet, but I’m working on being ready,” Hamill said today on “Good Morning America.” “Juggling has been a little bit difficult. Last night was our last show in Portland, Maine, so now I am finished for the season with that and can focus more.”
MacManus said the double duty of dancing and skating workouts have been “intense” for Hamill, but she’s “doing great” in rehearsals.
The duo will take on a contemporary dance in week 1, but will fans see her signature skating move, the “Hamill camel,” in the routine?
“I was trying to put that ‘Hamill camel’ in, but it’s a bit difficult without the ice,” McManus said. “We’ll have to find something.”
“GMA” asked Hamill a lightning round of five questions backstage. See her answers below and watch the two-hour premiere of “Dancing With the Stars” on Monday, March 18 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.
1. Who is your favorite dancing contestant from previous seasons? Fellow skater Kristy Yamaguchi.
2. What surprised you the most during your first practice? The movements in skating are so different than ones in dancing, which is contrary to popular belief.
3. My dancing secret weapon is … Partner Tristan McManus!
4. Favorite junk food: Gummy bears.
5. Do you have a pre-performance or backstage ritual? When asked the question backstage, Hamill said no, but yelled, “Help!” and jumped into MacManus’ arms. That may be the start of one, she said!