Aly Raisman, the teenage U.S. gymnast and winner of three medals at the 2012 summer Olympic games in London, will join the new celebrity cast of the ABC ballroom dancing reality show “Dancing with the Stars.” The new show begins on March 18 and the new cast of the show’s 16th season was announced on “Good Morning America” Feb. 26. Raisman will dance with professional dancer Mark Ballas.
The Jewish gymnast won a gold medal at the last Olympics for a floor routine performed to the Jewish classic “Hava Nagila.” As controversy erupted over whether to hold an official moment of silence for the 11 Israeli Olympians killed by Palestinian terrorists during the 1972 Munich Games at the London Olympics, the 40th anniversary of that attack, Raisman also notably supported holding the moment.
When the Raisman family first learned of the gymnast’s participation in the show, before it was publically announced, “they were so excited! My dad was really funny, he was crying on the phone [when I told him]!” Raisman told the omg! celebrity news website Feb. 28.
Raisman, 18, is already rehearsing for the show. Ballas has “been picking up on some things that I’m good at and some things I need to work on,” Raisman said.
“Everyone thinks because I’m a gymnast it will be easy, but it’s actually the complete opposite,” she said.