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'DWTS' 2014: Spotlight on Amy Purdy and Derek Hough

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Rehearsals are in full swing as the new slate of celebrities and their pro partners prepare for the first night of competition on “Dancing with the Stars" in 2014. Because the premiere is rapidly approaching, it’s a great time to look at each of the couples from season 18, including Amy Purdy and Derek Hough. According to Derek’s Twitter post on March 12, the two are getting in some practice time in Sochi, just five days before the big “DWTS” premiere.

Amy, in turn tweeted on Wednesday, “Dancing in the streets in the Olympic athlete village with Derek Hough. What a spectacular experience.” The Olympian will certainly be busy in the next few days. As posted by “USA Today,” Purdy will compete as a snowboarder this weekend in Sochi and will fly to L.A. to begin her stint on “DWTS” just three days later.

Amy Purdy had a typical childhood until losing her legs at 19 as a result of Meningitis, which led to an adulthood of extraordinary accomplishments. Currently competing in the 2014 Paralympics in Sochi, she is the top ranked adaptive snowboarder in the U.S. and three-time World Cup Para-snowboard winner. Purdy is the Co-Founder of Adaptive Action Sports, a non-profit organization that helps disabled youth, adults and wounded veterans get involved in action sports.

AAS was instrumental in getting adaptive snowboarding added to the 2014 Paralympic Games. Purdy’s positive outlook has opened many doors to other opportunities including being featured in a Madonna music video, a lead acting role in an award winning independent film, and multiple modeling projects. She is an accomplished motivational speaker who has shared her story with audiences around the world. In 2013, Purdy was named by the International Olympic Committee as one of the top 15 most marketable Para-athletes in the world.

So, how will Amy Purdy fare on “Dancing with the Stars?” Her secret weapon is Derek Hough, the only five-time champion. He took home the coveted mirror ball trophy with partners Brooke Burke, Nicole Scherzinger, Jennifer Grey, Kellie Pickler and Amber Riley. To see Derek Hough talk about Amy Purdy, his latest partner on ”DWTS,” be sure to watch the video above.

Derek started dancing in his hometown of Salt Lake City at the age of 11, and just one year later, he moved to London to train with the top coaches in the world and attend a performing arts school. Hough’s professional ballroom accolades include World Under 21 Latin American Champion, two-time Open British Champion (Blackpool), two-time International Open to the World Champion, and two-time US Open Champion.

Derek Hough first appeared on “Dancing with the Stars" in 2007 and has competed on 12 seasons with the following celebrity partners.

  • Season 5: Jennie Garth (4th place)
  • Season 6: Shannon Elizabeth (6th place)
  • Season 7: Brooke Burke (1st place)
  • Season 8: Lil’ Kim (5th place)
  • Season 9: Joanna Krupa (4th place)
  • Season 10: Nicole Scherzinger (1st place)
  • Season 11: Jennifer Grey (1st place)
  • Season 13: Ricki Lake (3rd place)
  • Season 14: Maria Menounos (4th place)
  • Season 15: Shawn Johnson (2nd place)
  • Season 16: Kellie Pickler (1st place)
  • Season 17: Amber Riley (1st place)

The 18th season of “Dancing with the Stars” premieres on Monday, March 17 at 8 p.m. EST on ABC. This year, Erin Andrews, sportscaster and past competitor, joins Tom Bergeron as co-host. The biggest news of all is a brand new twist. The celebrities must change partners mid-season, with America voting on the new teams.

Below are this season’s competitors and their pro partners, all hoping to take home a mirror ball trophy in 2014.

  1. Sean Avery: Former pro hockey player. Partner: Karina Smirnoff.
  2. Candice Cameron Bure: DJ Tanner from “Full House.” Partner: Mark Ballas.
  3. Drew Carey: Stand-up comic and host of “The Price Is Right.” Partner: Cheryl Burke.
  4. Meryl Davis: Gold medal Olympic ice dancer. Partner: Maks Chmerkovskiy.
  5. NeNe Leakes: Actress from “TRHOA,” “Glee” and “The New Normal.” Partner: Tony Dovolani.
  6. James Maslow: Star of TV series “Big Time Rush” and member of band of the same name. Partner: Peta Murgatroyd.
  7. Danica McKellar: Winnie Cooper from “The Wonder Years.” Partner: Valentin Chmerkovskiy.
  8. Diana Nyad: First person to swim from Cuba to Florida. Partner: Henry Byalikov.
  9. Amy Purdy: Dual amputee and competitor in Sochi Paralympics. Partner: Derek Hough.
  10. Cody Simpson: Popular pop star with a huge fan base. Partner: Witney Carson.
  11. Charlie White: Gold medal Olympic ice dancer. Partner: Sharna Burgess.
  12. Billy Dee Williams: Legendary leading man. Partner: Emma Slater.

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