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Sean Avery and Meryl Davis Among Athletes in Newest 'Dancing with the Stars'

SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 18:  Gold medalists Meryl Davis (L) and Charlie White of the United States celebrate during the medal ceremony for the Figure Skating Ice Danceon day 11 of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Medals Plaza on February 18, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.  (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
Ryan Pierse/Getty Images
Mike ChiariFeatured ColumnistMarch 4, 2014

Athletes have enjoyed a great deal of success on the hit show Dancing with the Stars, and a strong crop for the upcoming 18th season suggests the trend will continue. 

According to Ann Oldenburg of USA Today, the new cast is stacked with athletic talent in the form of Olympic ice dancing gold medalists Meryl Davis and Charlie White, former NHL star Sean Avery, record-breaking swimmer Diana Nyad and Paralympic snowboarder Amy Purdy.

Here is a look at all of the contestants along with their dance partners, courtesy of Good Morning America:

SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 18:  Gold medalists Meryl Davis (L) and Charlie White of the United States celebrate during the medal ceremony for the Figure Skating Ice Danceon day 11 of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Medals Plaza on February 18, 2014 in Soc
Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

After becoming the first American pair to win gold in Olympic ice dancing during the 2014 Sochi Games, Davis and White are America's sweethearts. They have enjoyed an incredible amount of success together, but the greatest intrigue surrounding Dancing with the Stars is the fact that they'll be competing against each other.

Per Lynn Rutherford of TeamUSA.org, Davis is especially excited about the opportunity to go head-to-head with her longtime partner:

Olympians are no strangers to Dancing with the Stars as 12 of them appeared on the show in the past with varying degrees of success. Here is a look at how every Olympian fared on the ballroom floor:

Although Avery is no longer in the NHL, few hockey players in recent years have grabbed as many headlines as he has. He was a controversial figure both on and off the ice, and he is arguably one of the most interesting athletes around.

Avery was an agitator with scoring touch throughout his NHL career, and he has shown his range since hanging up the skates as well by interning for Vogue.

While Avery's inclusion should make for some interesting moments, former ESPN personality Howie Schwab questioned the decision to put Avery on the show:

Olympian 'Dancing with the Stars' Results
OlympianSeasonFinish
Apolo Anton Ohno4th1st
Floyd Mayweather5th9th
Kristi Yamaguchi6th1st
Monica Seles6th11th
Maurice Green7th5th
Misty May-Treanor7th10th
Shawn Johnson8th1st
Natalie Coughlin9th10th
Evan Lysacek10th2nd
"Sugar" Ray Leonard12th9th
Hope Solo13th4th
Martina Navratilova14th12th
BettyConfidential.com

Nyad became a national phenom in September when she became the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without a protective cage, according to Matt Sloane, Jason Hanna and Dana Ford of CNN.

Nyad could barely contain her excitement after the Dancing with the Stars announcement was made:

Purdy rounded out the field of athletes. She will compete in snowboarding for the United States at the 2014 Paralympic Games in Sochi just prior to the start of Dancing with the Stars on March 17.

Purdy has overcome a lot, including having both legs amputated as a result of bacterial meningitis at the age of 19, so she will certainly be a sentimental favorite.

Athletes always seem to perform well on Dancing with the Stars due to the physical rigors involved, and that is bolstered by the fact that nearly half of season 18's cast is made up of athletes.

There are obviously no guarantees, but a final showdown involving Davis and White is a very real possibility and would almost certainly garner huge ratings for ABC.


Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter

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