The fourth season of "Dancing with the Stars" could have a decidedly athletic feel.
The ABC series, which returns to the air Monday, March 19, will have three jocks competing this time around, more than have ever taken part before. Among those is also the show's first female athlete, boxer Laila Ali. Olympic short-track medalist Apolo Anton Ohno and basketball Hall of Famer Clyde "The Glide" Drexler are the others.
The 11 stars in this year's cast also include Heather Mills, the former wife of Beatle Paul McCartney and the first contestant to compete with an artificial limb. Her left leg was amputated below the knee in 1993 after she was badly injured in a traffic accident. She'll be partnered with Jonathan Roberts, who's back for his third turn on the show.
Among the other notable names are former "Beverly Hills, 90210" star Ian Ziering (partnered with two-time champ Cheryl Burke), supermodel Paulina Porizkova (with season one winner Alec Mazo), Miss USA 2004 Shandi Finnessey (dancing with newcomer Brian Fortuna) and ex-"Sopranos" star Vincent Pastore (dancing with Edyta Sliwinska).
Drexler, who at 6-foot-7 is likely the tallest "Dancing" contestant to date, will pair up with Elena Grinenko, who's hoping for a longer run than her one-and-done stint with Tucker Carlson last season. Ali will team up with Maksim Chmerkovskiy, who danced with Willa Ford last season, and Ohno will work with Julianne Hough, who's making her first appearance on the series.
Rounding out the cast are "Achy Breaky Heart" singer/"Hannah Montana" star Billy Ray Cyrus (with Karina Smirnoff); former *NSync member and sometime Broadway actor Joey Fatone (with Kym Johnson); and talk-show host Leeza Gibbons (with Tony Dovolani).
Tom Bergeron and Samantha Harris will take up hosting duties once again, and judges Len Goodman, Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli will also be back.
"Dancing with the Stars" premieres at 8 p.m. ET Monday, March 19.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times