Adam Rippon won the special four-week, all-athletes season of “Dancing with the Stars” on May 21, which made him the 11th sports star to claim the Mirror Ball Trophy. But is he the best athlete who has ever won? Yes, according to the readers who responded to our poll, but another figure-skating Olympian was right behind him.
A quarter of our readers (25%) thought Rippon was the best ever, and it was certainly a decisive victory on the dance floor. He topped the judges’ leaderboard every single week of the shortened season, even in the season finale after his unconventional freestyle routine left Carrie Ann Inaba and Len Goodman scratching their heads.
Figure skaters come to the ballroom with an advantage since their sport already trains them in choreography and musical interpretation, and if you can do it while balancing on the narrow blade of an ice skate, you can do it in dancing shoes. But surprisingly male figure skaters haven’t had as much luck as their female counterparts in the past. Evan Lysacek fell just short of the trophy, finishing second in season 10. And Charlie White was eliminated in fifth place in season 18.
White won the Olympic gold medal in ice dancing with his partner Meryl Davis, who was the winner of season 18 and finished a close second in our poll with 23% of the vote. She competed in a full season of “DWTS,” so she got to perform a lot more dances than Rippon did, and she actually finished the season with the record for the highest average score in the history of the show.
Gymnast Laurie Hernandez (season 23) was the third best athlete champion with 17% of the vote, followed by speed skater Apolo Anton Ohno (season 4) with 10% of the vote. Do you agree with our readers about the best athletes of all time? Check out the complete poll results below.