Bay Area Olympian's Next Big Splash: the Dance Floor

Natalie Coughlin sets sights on dancing prize

By Jessica Greene
|  Tuesday, Aug 18, 2009  |  Updated 5:56 AM PDT
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An Insider Looks Back at Beijing Olympics

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Six-time Olympic gold-winning swimmer Natalie Coughlin, seen in this 2002 beach photo shoot, will have the chance to add another winning title to her impressive accolades.

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Bay Area native and six-time Olympic Gold medal-winning swimmer Natalie Coughlin will be making her next big splash on the dance floor in primetime.

The UC Berkeley grad will join next season's cast of  ABC's "Dancing With The Stars," the show's host, Tom Bergeron, said Monday.

If history proves true, Coughlin's athleticism will give her a big advantage over the competition.

Olympic gymnasts Shawn Johnson and Kristy Yamaguchi (also a Bay Area native) have both taken home gold medals from the danceoff and former 49er, the NFL's all-time leading receiver Jerry Rice took third place in the show's second season.

Another NFL great, Emmitt Smith, stole the show and was crowned winner in season three and double-gold Olympian speed skater Apolo Anton Ohno took home the top prize in the show's fourth season.

Although famous in his own right, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak proved in season eight that computer geeks should stick to what they know. The Woz survived injuries and insults but was eliminated in week four.

His performances sparked some pretty cutting remarks from judges, including an all-to-visible image painted by Bruno Tonioli.

"I don't know if it was hilarious or delirious," Tonioli said of Woz's display. "It was like watching a Teletubbie going mad in a gay pride parade."

Donny Osmond; singers Mya, Macy Gray and Aaron Carter; actors Melissa Joan Hart, Debi Mazar and Ashley Hamilton (son of George); models Joanna Krupa and Kathy Ireland; reality stars Kelly Osbourne and Mark Dacascos ("the Chairman" on Food Network's "Iron Chef America"); mixed martial artist Chuck Liddell; professional snowboarder Louie Vito; former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Michael Irvin and the 62-year-old former congressman from Texas.

Former Republican Majority Leader Tom DeLay will also be a part of the new season's antics, which kick off September 21.

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