The "Dancing With the Stars" cast has been announced, and it's official: An abundance of athletes is about to invade the ballroom.
In addition to long-distance-swimming legend Diana Nyad, former NHL star Sean Avery, and para-snowboarder Amy Purdy, the Season 18 cast features Olympic ice dancer Meryl Davis, who has temporarily traded in her longtime partner Charlie White for a chance to trip the light fantastic with pro dancer Maksim Chmerkovskiy.
Don't worry, Charlie's in the cast, too — he'll just be dancing with Sharna Burgess — but really, does anyone stand a chance against Meryl and Maks anyway?
Coming into this season of the celeb dancing competition, Davis, who along with White brought home the first-ever U.S. gold for ice dancing while competing in Sochi, has already mastered a "My Fair Lady"-inspired dance routine that featured a sampling of two "DWTS" staples: the quickstep and the foxtrot. And, as an extra bonus, the routine was choreographed by five-time "DWTS" champ and Emmy winner Derek Hough.
Davis and White recall their favorite moments from past Olympics:
And Chmerkovskiy is definitely hungry for a win. With 13 "DWTS" seasons under his belt, the 34-year-old Ukrainian pro dancer has yet to capture the show's coveted mirrorball trophy. After a two-season hiatus, producers may have tried to woo him back this season with the promise of the perfect partner, and Davis certainly fits that bill.
Ahead of the official "DWTS" cast announcement, Davis downplayed her competitive spirit, but she's not fooling us. "I don't know that we would be so great," she told OK Magazine of the possibility of herself and/or White joining the celeb dancing competition. "We would just have fun. Part of the beauty of this post-Olympic excitement that we're enjoying is that we're allowing ourselves to enjoy things. We don't feel any burden. We don't feel any pressure, so if we were to do something like that, it would just be fun."
Of course, it's all fun and games until someone loses a mirrorball. Although the "DWTS" powers that be surely realize they have a match made in Maks heaven, they've gone ahead and added a pesky twist for this season. For the first time ever, there will be a partner switch-up midway through the competition. Viewers will vote on the celeb-pro pairings, so a Maks-Meryl mirrorball win is not a shoo-in.
No matter how the pairings end up, it's a fact that athletes tend to do well on "Dancing With the Stars," and Olympic ice skaters do especially well. Olympian Kristi Yamaguchi won Season 6 of the celeb dancing competition, while eight-time speedskating medalist Apolo Ohno took home the trophy in Season 4. Olympic figure skater Evan Lysacek was a runner-up in Season 10. (Other sports pros, including Emmitt Smith, Helio Castroneves, Shawn Johnson, Hines Ward, and Donald Driver, have won their respective seasons, too.)
The upcoming sports-heavy new season of "Dancing With the Stars" will also boast a bona fide sideline reporter. ESPN and Fox Sports correspondent Erin Andrews has replaced Brooke Burke-Charvet as the show's co-host, a casting change that makes a whole lot more sense now.
The new season of "Dancing With the Stars" premieres Monday, March 17, at 8 p.m. on ABC.