'Dancing With The Stars' continues its sports tradition

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff  August 31, 2010 08:04 AM

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This season's DWTS cast is, from left, Brandy, David Hasselhoff, Jennifer Grey, Kurt Warner, Margaret Cho, Kyle Massey, Audrina Patridge, Rick Fox, Florence Henderson, co-host Brooke Burke, Bristol Palin, and co-host Tom Bergeron.

Sports stars have had a great run of success on the television show "Dancing With the Stars," which totally makes sense. Did you know ballroom dancing used to be in the Olympics?

Winners have ranged from the elegant and graceful Olympic medal-winning figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi to football brute Emmitt Smith, as well as race car driver Helio Castroneves and Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson. Olympic figure skater Evan Lysacek was a runner-up, as were NFL stars Warren Sapp, Jerry Rice, and Jason Taylor. Boxer Laila Ali finished third. Even Melissa Rycroft (third) was a former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader.

The lineup for the new season, which begins Sept. 20, is out, and once again includes a couple of jocks. Former Celtics and Lakers forward Rick Fox is one of two athletes who will compete. Ex-NFL quarterback Kurt Warner is the other. Both were on championship-winning pro teams.

Who knows how they'll do? While Yamaguchi and Lysacek seemed like obvious picks because their sport was so similar to dancing, part of the show's appeal is putting people in unlikely situations. Like Sapp. Or even Chad Ochocinco, who looked downright goofy at times last season. So Fox, who may be more famous for his Hollywood endeavors than hoop, and Warner, fit the mold.

I'm guessing a lot of people will pick Jennifer Grey to win this season, largely because her dancing claim to fame is significant -- who could forget her as Baby in "Dirty Dancing." My money's on singer Brandy Norwood.

Which athletes would you recommend for DWTS? Add your suggestions in the comments section, and we'll round up the best for another Buzz post before the show begins.

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