Lolo Jones, Randy Couture and Michael Waltrip to Star on 'DWTS' Season 19

Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistSeptember 4, 2014

LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 16:  Soccer player Lolo Jones attends The 2014 ESPYS at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on July 16, 2014 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)
Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Dancing with the Stars announced the celebrities for its 19th season on Thursday. As usual, there was a heavy athlete presence with Olympian Lolo Jones, former UFC champion Randy Couture and longtime NASCAR star Michael Waltrip in the cast.   

Ann Oldenburg of USA Today confirmed the entire group of participants along with the professional dancers who will serve as their teammates. Jones will team with Keo Motsepe, Couture is paired with Karina Smirnoff and Waltrip will chase the Mirror Ball Trophy with Emma Slater.

Jones confirmed her appearance and admitted she probably shouldn't be viewed as the early favorite with plenty of work to do:

Based on the picture she posted to Instagram, it looks like the practice sessions are already underway:

Of course, she could be hiding her true potential on the dance floor. The dual Olympian, who's competed in the hurdles at the Summer Games and the bobsled in the Winter Games, certainly has the athleticism to rapidly improve in the weeks ahead.

Those who've made a similar transition in the past enjoyed success. Since the first Olympian took part in Season 4eventual champion Apolo Anton Ohnoa total of four Olympic athletes have won the title:

Olympian 'Dancing with the Stars' Results
Apolo Anton Ohno 4th 1st
Floyd Mayweather 5th 9th
Kristi Yamaguchi 6th 1st
Monica Seles 6th 11th
Maurice Green 7th 5th
Misty May-Treanor 7th 10th
Shawn Johnson 8th 1st
Natalie Coughlin 9th 10th
Evan Lysacek 10th 2nd
"Sugar" Ray Leonard 12th 9th
Hope Solo 13th 4th
Martina Navratilova 14th 12th
Charlie White18th5th
Amy Purdy18th2nd
Meryl Davis18th1st

So it sounds like Jones may start slow, but it wouldn't be a surprise to see her become a contender as long as she's able to avoid early elimination.

The show will also allow MMA fans to see a softer side of Couture. He's since moved on to some acting in usually tough-guy roles. Now the focus will be on his finesse rather than the power that made him a star in the first place.

As for Waltrip, it's tough to know what to expect. The two-time Daytona 500 winner should bring some personality to the program, as he shows during his stints with NASCAR on Fox, but his dancing ability is very much a mystery.

All told, if an athlete is going to win this season, the track record suggests it would be Jones. But who knows, maybe Couture or Waltrip are prepared to surprise.