It appears Jessie Diggins could be recovering sooner than previously thought, or at least she’s extremely optimistic, as the 24-year-old U.S. Nordic Ski Team member just signed a contract with Dancing with the Stars, an American dance-competition show, for the fall of 2016.
Both Diggins and Simi Hamilton, also of the U.S. Ski Team (USST), agreed to commit themselves to the nationally acclaimed reality TV series from mid-September through late-November of this year. That will affect training and the beginning of their respective World Cup seasons, but the two said it’s worth it.
“I’ve been waiting for this kind of breakthrough all of my life,” Diggins told Entertainment Tonight. “It’s great being a cross-country skier and all, but DWTS? This is unreal.”
After both Diggins and Hamilton achieved multiple World Cup podiums this past season, Hamilton told ET this is a move to further the recognition of his sport.
“I mean, they [DWTS] first heard about us because of our smash-hit ‘I’m ready’ music video, which went viral during the Ski Tour Canada, but once they learned more about us, they realized we actually have talent,” said Hamilton, who produced the video. “Personally, I’m not doing this for the money. It’s a short break in the training season, yes, but it’s a huge step for cross-country ski recognition in the U.S.”
The U.S. Ski Team’s ‘Uptown Funk’ video, which Hamilton also produced last year, received more than 80,000 views on YouTube.
Diggins and Hamilton will each reportedly be paid $125,000 dollars for appearing on the show. The contract involves six weeks of filming in Los Angeles, which isn’t exactly an ideal location for on-snow training, but U.S. Head Coach Chris Grover said he understands.
“I think it’s fantastic,” Grover told FasterSkier. “Jessie and Simi are both incredibly gifted athletes as well as dancers, and it’s time to show the world that. … Simi’s right, we’re here to grow the sport. If that means a little show business here and there, we can make that sacrifice.”
But how will this affect training?
“I think it will be about good time management,” Diggins told FS. “I’ve talked to my coach, and the plan is to stick to my normal training routine five days a week. The other two, I’ll dance my face off.”
Hamilton plans to go in raw.
“I’ve never had official dance training and I think that’s what the producers want,” he said. “The more green I am the better. So I won’t be taking any lessons this summer.”
While the network would not comment on celebrities slated for future shows, there have been rumblings about a few of the acts that will join the two U.S. Ski Team members, including David Letterman, Missy Elliott, Paul Rudd, Demi Lovato, Sarah Michelle Gellar, and Freddie Prinze Jr.