With less than a week to go before “Dancing with the Stars” begins its special 26th season featuring only athletes on April 30, Tonya Harding moves up in our predictions for who will win the Mirror Ball Trophy. She now ranks third with 5/2 odds with the top two spots continuing to be held by Adam Rippon (first place with 17/10 odds) and Mirai Nagasu (second place with 11/5 odds). If we’re right that would mean a clean sweep of the top three for this season’s figure skaters.
Our odds are based on the combined predictions of hundreds of Gold Derby users who have made their forecasts thus far in anticipation of the April 30 season premiere. And it makes sense that our users would have high expectations for figure skaters given the previous Mirror Ball Trophy victories for Kristi Yamaguchi (season 6) and Meryl Davis (season 18). But not all figure skaters have made it that far. Dorothy Hamill had to withdraw from the competition in season 16 due to injury after just two dances. Then Charlie White finished fifth in season 18, and Nancy Kerrigan placed sixth in season 24.
But figure skaters are already experienced with athletic training, choreography and musicality, so it stands to reason that they have an advantage, even sight-unseen. And this year’s three competitors have strong name recognition, which could help with fans voting at home. Harding became infamous after her disputed involvement in an attack on Kerrigan in 1994, so her name recognition could hurt her as much as help her with fans. But Rippon and Nagasu made names for themselves with their performances at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, where Rippon became an outspoken fan favorite and Nagasu became the first American woman ever to land a triple axel at the Olympics.
But will they be able to dance as well as they skate?
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