Gymnast Shawn Johnson beat hunky French actor Gilles Marini in the closest battle in “Dancing with the Stars” history in 2009 — and many expected the popular rivals to come back and compete in the hotly anticipated “DWTS: All-Stars” edition this September.
But a recent turn of events for both Season 8 celebrities now puts their “Dancing” futures in question: Gilles had a freak accident this weekend that resulted in foot surgery and Shawn announced she was retiring from gymnastics due to a knee problem.
“Season 8 was one of the most exciting ever for ‘Dancing with the Stars,’ and fans desperately want Gilles and Shawn to be All-Stars in the fall,” an insider says. “But their injuries are making that prospect look cloudy.”
Ironically, both DWTS alums announced their physical problems over the weekend.
Shawn, who injured her knee while skiing in 2010, said Sunday on her Facebook page that she would not compete in this summer’s Olympics and was hanging up her leotard for good. “I still have the heart, drive, & desire to compete & help the USA at the London Olympics,” she wrote. “Unfortunately, it has become obvious that my left knee is not able to sustain the demands of gymnastics any longer. All I can do now is gracefully retire & thank everyone who has believed in me and my journey.”
But a rep for Johnson says that doesn’t mean we should count her out for all competitions.
“Shawn is dying to come back and be invited to the upcoming DWTS All-Stars Edition,” Johnson’s agent Sheryl Shade told xfinityTV Tuesday. “She would love it.”
While Shawn’s retirement has left her open for All-Stars and she wants to do it, Gilles’ dance future is still in doubt due to injury.
The “Brothers and Sisters” star Gilles revealed Saturday to friends and fans on Twitter @GillesMarini the news of his foot injury while on a trip to Las Vegas with his wife, Carole: “Broke off a needle in my foot :(( painful. Can’t get it out now. Just landed in Vegas right now, going directly to the hospital :( bummer.” Carole Marini tweeted: “Poor thing, he is so in pain.”
Gilles said on Twitter that he sought treatment at a Las Vegas urgent care facility but “Doc said it’s so deep that we can’t remove it,” also giving his Twitter followers a picture of the X-ray, which appeared to show the needle lodged on the big toe side of his left foot.
After enjoying some time with Carole and their friend, fellow DWTS alum Melissa Rycroft (who finished 3rd to Shawn and Gilles on Season 8), the actor decided to fly to Colorado to get surgery from specialist Dr. Christopher Offutt. Sunday night, the actor tweeted, “Needle’s out. Was big. Thank God for #DrOffutt. I will post the video and pictures tomorrow. But they are gruesome. Discretion advice.” [sic—advised] Later, he stressed in another tweet that the photos and video of his surgery are “not for the faint of heart.”
While DWTS producers are keeping the casting progress for “All-Stars” hush-hush, Gilles’ partner, Cheryl Burke, has admitted she’d love to have another chance to get the mirror ball with him. Now, his injury “obviously puts his DWTS future up in the air,” the insider says. “Within a couple of months, the show must be cast and the celebrities should start rehearsing. Will Gilles’ foot be healed by August?”
Still, don’t count out the determined former “Sex and the City” hottie. While doing DWTS in 2009, Gilles suffered a separated shoulder – but refused to drop out of the competition and wound up in the finale.
Shawn, who last competed with Mark Ballas and has been rumored to be a strong “All-Stars” possibility, hasn’t publicly commented on if she would do DWTS again (and her agent hasn’t responded to xfinityTV’s emailed question about it). The gymnast has said that post-retirement, she plans to cheer on the U.S. women’s gymnastics team at the London Olympics this summer, do charity work, and attend college in fall 2013.
But an insider points out, “DWTS might not be as grueling as gymnastics, so maybe Shawn would consider it. She had such a great time on the show in 2009 and she was in the audience last season and even did a few TV interviews afterward. Not competing in the Olympics would make her available for All-Stars. Shawn is a big part of the DWTS family and her freestyle with Mark has been remembered as one of the strongest ever on the show. She’s an athlete used to competing through pain so she could definitely still bring her trouper spirit to the All-Stars!”
And, as Shawn, now 20, — the youngest winner in DWTS history at age 17 — just promised on her Twitter account about her gymnastics retirement, “Trust me guys this isn’t the last of me! Can’t get rid of me that easily! Just on 2 the next chapter.” Could that chapter include DWTS?
We hope it does for both wounded DWTS warriors!