While female Olympians have struck Mirrorball glory on “Dancing with the Stars,” it’s a different story for the dudes. The most successful male athletes on the show are football players. Shocking, right? (Not.) Of the 10 athletes that have won “Dancing” in its first 25 seasons, six were men and four of those men were pigskin players. So you can probably book a football player or two for the upcoming “Dancing with the Stars: Athletes.” But which of these six champs has your vote?
The first male athlete to win “Dancing” was Dallas Cowboys great Emmitt Smith, who won Season 3 in 2006 with Cheryl Burke over Mario Lopez and Karina Smirnoff, who outscored Smith and Burke during the season. Smith and Burke reteamed for the all-star season and finished fourth.
Smith was the beginning of four straight athlete champs, with Kristi Yamaguchi being the fourth. Short track speed skater Apolo Anton Ohno, the most decorated American winter Olympian with eight medals, won Season 4 in 2007 with Julianne Hough. The pair was neck-and-neck with Joey Fatone and Kym Johnson all season, but Ohno and Hough’s fun hip-hop freestyle gave them the edge. Ohno finished fifth on the all-star season with Smirnoff.
Hough went back-to-back with a Season 5 victory with Indy 500 champ Helio Castroneves. It remains one of the most hotly debated finals as they beat Mel B and Maksim Chmerkovskiy, who were the favorites and had a one-point lead in the final. Castroneves was paired with Chelsie Hightower in the all-star installment, finishing 10th.
The next male athlete winner came in Season 12 in 2011, when Pittsburgh Steeler Hines Ward was crowned with Johnson. The two-time Super Bowl champ received the most perfect 30s of the season, with four, and had a five-point advantage over second place finisher Kirstie Alley and Chmerkovskiy.
Another wide receiver, Donald Driver, took home the Mirrorball trophy in Season 14 in 2012 with Peta Murgatroyd. Opera singer Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas were the season-long leaders — Driver and Murgatroyd actually had the third highest average score behind Jenkins and Ballas, and third place finishers William Levy and Cheryl Burke — but the former Green Bay Packer brought the house down with his country-themed freestyle.
Five years later, former New York Giants running back Rashad Jennings and Emma Slater were victorious on Season 24. Fifth Harmony singer Normani Kordei and Val Chmerkovskiy were the frontrunners but wound up in third place behind runner-ups David Ross and Lindsay Arnold.
Which of these champs is your favorite? Vote below!
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