Mirai Nagasu and partner Alan Bersten performed a quickstep routine on the May 14 telecast of ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars: Athletes.”
Nagasu and Bersten were voted out of the competition that crowned its champion the following week, despite their consistently top scores with the judges.
Viewer voting, however, was not in their favor, and they did not return for the May 21 finale of the four-week contest. The winners were Nagasu’s close friend and U.S. Olympic figure skating teammate Adam Rippon and partner Jenna Johnson. Both Nagasu and Rippon are part of the current Stars on Ice tour.
“Thank you to everyone for cheering me on during this journey. I had such a great time and am so grateful for all of your support,” Nagasu posted on Twitter. “Although I would have loved another week of dancing with [Alan], I know that what’s most important is the experience I had and the friends I made.”
Nagasu dedicated her dance to her mother, who was in the audience and was nearly brought to tears.
Before revealing her score, judge Carrie Ann Inaba spoke directly to Mrs. Nagasu, asking – in Japanese – “Yoku dekimashita, ne? She did a great job, didn’t she?”
In the finale, Rippon and Johnson competed against former figure skater Tonya
Harding (with partner Sasha Farber) and Josh Norman of the NFL’s Washington Redskins (with partner Sharna Burgess).
Unlike the typical “DWTS” season, which lasts 10 to 11 weeks, Season 26 ran only four weeks. The other competing athletes were Arike Ogunbowale, college basketball player; Chris Mazdzer, Olympian luger; Jamie Anderson, Olympic snowboarder; Jennie Finch Daigle, former softball pitcher; Johnny Damon, former MLB outfielder; and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, former NBA superstar.