Dorothy Hamill and pro partner Tristan MacManus compete during Week 1. (ABC )
The Times is pleased to have 1976 Olympic gold medalist and figure skating legend Dorothy Hamill guest-blogging for us while she competes on "Dancing With the Stars." Each week while she competes on the show, Hamill will answer a few questions from Sports Now editor Houston Mitchell and give some insight into the competition. Here are Hamill's thoughts about Week 1, which she offered via email.
Q: You have been practicing and training for the first show for a couple of weeks now. How would you compare the pressure and nerves of your first dance on the show to skating for an Olympic gold medal?
The pressure is quite different. With skating I had a comfort zone, and I had so many others who were helping me and invested their time and emotion in my skating. Skating was my life. I trained 11 years for the Olympics. With dancing, I have only trained for three weeks. While I am outside my comfort zone and feel pressure to perform, I also am deriving such pleasure from it and the pressure is more personal to me and Tristan [MacManus, her pro partner].
Q: You said watching Kristi Yamaguchi on DWTS during your battle and recovery from breast cancer served as an inspiration to you. Can you tell us a little about how your battle with cancer changed your outlook on life?
My cancer just made me more focused on enjoying every minute of my life.
Q: Some fans of the show complain that figure skaters have an unfair advantage because they are used to learning choreography. Some say dancing and figure skating are two entirely different sports and one doesn't help the other. What are your thoughts about it?
It is true that we are used to choreography, but the movements are so different. In skating, you glide; in dancing you step and must balance. The movements are complete opposites. I find the transition very challenging because in skating you have forward motion, but in dancing the physics are simply different.
Q: You've obviously watched the show in the past. What is the biggest surprise to you (that you didn't realize when watching) about being on the show?
The biggest surprise -- and delight -- is how supportive and collegial everyone is. There is so much thought and effort which goes into making all of us be successful -- costumes, hair and makeup, the producers, set design, the music, the pro dancers and the friendship we are forming among the celebrities. I think it is extraordinary!
You can find out more about Dorothy Hamill at her website, www.dorothyhamill.com, and on Twitter @DorothyHamill.
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