One of the most anticipated television shows of the year, Dancing With The Stars, will be hitting the dance floor again next week for yet another exciting competition but with a new twist—an all-star cast. That’s right! This season will welcome 13 fan favorites and previous winners back to the stage to take the quick footwork and drool-worthy ensembles we love to the next level.
Among the cast is reigning champion, Peta Murgatroyd, who took home the Mirror Ball trophy as Donald Driver’s professional partner. We talked strategy with the Aussie-native, who hopes to continue her winning streak with Season eight’s runner-up, Gilles Marini. Here’s what she had to say about injury prevention, her secrets to looking fab and her favorite indulgence, cheese!
After being the first duo to be sent home Season 13 with Metta World Peace, how did you change your tactics for the win with Donald Driver?
I think that it’s always easier when you have somebody that is willing to learn and willing to put in the effort and the hours. I was devastated when I got out first because it was my first season. I wanted to come out and make a big bang as the new pro on the block but that didn’t really quite happen and I was crushed. I really think that Donald was so inspiring to have as a partner and he really wanted to win it. It’s just all about how you guys work together and the communication.
What have you been doing in preparation for another victory, this time with Gilles Marini?
One of the biggest things is respect for one another and I think [Gilles] has that. He’s an amazing person. He can definitely move well. I looked back on some of his old YouTube videos and he was really good. One of his major pros is that he can act so he’s great with getting into character and really sort of honing in on what the dance is about.
Gilles suffered from a separated shoulder during his season. How do you prevent injury?
Warm-up is key and cool-down is key. I can’t even start dancing until stretching first. I think that’s from the ballet background that I’ve had for 12 years. We didn’t take a step without making sure our feet were flexed and pointed and, you know, every muscle was warm. Also, because I’m so flexible with my body, I need to keep it strong and make sure that I do a lot of Pilates, for instance. I do a lot of that and strength training with weights. Read more
When balls fly at my head, I usually duck. Thankfully, U.S. Olympic soccer player Alex Morgan does not. As you might remember, Morgan scored the winning goal (off a header) at the Olympics in overtime against Canada to take the U.S. team into the game medal match against Japan. Now that the Games are behind her, Morgan is teaming up with DePuy Mitek, Inc., the official sports medicine sponsor of the 2014 FIFA World Cup to launch an initiative to educate parents, coaches and athletes about the importance of injury prevention. Read on to see how she stays injury-free and what she wants athletes everywhere to know.
What’s the main idea behind this initiative with the Sports Injury Prevention Program?
Aside from teaching parents, coaches and athletes how important it is to make sure your muscles are warm and ready to go before a game, they’ve also created the FIFA 11+, a warm-up program designed to reduce injuries in athletes 14 years and older. If you do these exercises twice a week, which consists of a mix of running, balance and plyometric exercises you significantly decrease your chance of getting hurt on the field.
Do you remember the first time you were badly injured playing soccer?
I tore my ACL when I was 17, which was a really important time in my life. It was my first college season and basically the worst time ever to get hurt. I had to get surgery and it took me five months to get back on the field. I wish they had this program back then, especially because female athletes have a much higher injury rate.