Mary Lou Retton is going from the floor exercise to the dance floor. She’s signed up for season 27 of “Dancing with the Stars,” which gets underway on Monday night, September 24. The veteran gymnast won five medals at the 1984 Olympic Games, including a gold medal in the women’s individual all-around and a silver medal in the team competition. Will she add the Mirror Ball Trophy to her list of athletic accomplishments? Let’s weigh the pros and cons.
Athletes have a great track record on “DWTS,” and especially from her sport. Two Mirror Ball champs have been Olympic gold medal-winning gymnasts: Shawn Johnson (season 8) and Laurie Hernandez (season 23). And three others have made it as high as fourth place: Aly Raisman (season 16), Nastia Liukin (season 20) and Simone Biles (season 24). It’s no mystery why: the flexibility, acrobatics, and conditioning required for elite gymnastics translate especially well to dancing.
Retton’s pro partner Sasha Farber has improved his result every single season he’s been on the show. He finished eighth with Snooki (season 17), seventh with Kim Fields (season 22), fifth with Terra Jole (season 23), fourth with the aforementioned Biles (season 24) and third with Tonya Harding (“Athletes”). There are only two rungs on the ladder left for him to climb, and he could do it with Retton, especially since he has already had experience with a champion gymnast.
It has been 32 years since Retton retired from competitive gymnastics, while the previous gymnasts who appeared on “DWTS” were still in their competitive prime. Will she be able to match their performances and their results?
At age 50, Retton would be the oldest woman ever to win the Mirror Ball Trophy. By the time the finale rolls around this fall she’ll be a few months older than Jennifer Grey was when she prevailed in season 11. While her athletic background gives her a great foundation, youth is undeniably an advantage on “DWTS.”
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