Published February 28, 2011
LOS ANGELES -- A boxing great, a model who survived an Indian Ocean tsunami and a grown-up "Karate Kid" will be hoofing it on the 12th season of "Dancing with the Stars."
Welterweight champ Sugar Ray Leonard, model Petra Nemcova and Ralph Macchio of the hit 1984 karate movie will be among 11 celebrity contestants when the ABC show returns March 21.
The cast was announced Monday by "Dancing" hosts Tom Bergeron and Brooke Burke in segments that aired during an episode of ABC's "The Bachelor."
"Forget the rumors. The moment of truth has arrived!" Bergeron exclaimed.
Also hitting the dance floor will be actress Kirstie Alley; Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward; professional wrestler Chris Jericho; "Loveline" radio show co-host Mike Catherwood; onetime rap prodigy Romeo (former Lil' Romeo); Chelsea Kane of Disney Channel's "Jonas"; talk show host Wendy Williams and reality star Kendra Wilkinson.
Alley suggested the contestants' focus would be to "try not to fall on our butts the first week out. That's what I'm going for."
Leonard had a holistic description of his competitive approach.
"I think it's all psychological. I think it's spiritual," he said. "I think it's all the mental preparation."
Quipped Bergeron: "Have you ever watched the show?"
Ex-Delaware Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell won't be among the contestants. Last week, the Republican and tea party favorite said she'd been invited by the show but wasn't sure she should accept, citing two left feet and the need to finish writing a book about politics.
On her website Monday, O'Donnell said she was honored to be invited but that she would instead work on her book.
The star-professional dancer pairings will be announced Wednesday.
Last season's champ was "Dirty Dancing" actress Jennifer Grey, who was paired with dancer Derek Hough.
The show also featured former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's daughter, Bristol, as a contestant and became something of a political lightning rod because of the family connection.