ABC announces the cast and team pairings of new alternative series “The Superstars,” a fresh take on an old favorite. The eight athletes are Jennifer Capriati, Brandi Chastain, Robert Horry, Jeff Kent, Kristi Leskinen, Lisa Leslie, Bode Miller and Terrell Owens. The eight celebrities are David Charvet, Maksim Chmerkovskiy, Dan Cortese, Paige Hemmis, Julio Iglesias, Jr., Joanna Krupa, Ali Landry and Estella Warren. The series is based on ABC’s classic “Wide World of Sports” series of the same name, which pitted athletes from all different sports against each other to determine the best athlete in the world. “The Superstars” pairs the celebrities with the athletes to compete in varying sporting events. Participants found out who their selected partners were only when they met for the first time at the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas. The six-episode series premieres TUESDAY, JUNE 23 (8:00-9:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.
The team pairings for “The Superstars” will be Terrell Owens & Joanna Krupa; Jeff Kent & Ali Landry; Robert Horry & Estella Warren: Bode Miller & Paige Hemmis; Kristi Leskinen & Maksim Chmerkovskiy; Lisa Leslie & Dan Cortese; Jennifer Capriati & David Charvet; and Brandi Chastain & Julio Iglesias, Jr.
Every week a team will be eliminated until one team is ultimately crowned the winner. Competitors’ athletic prowess and strategy will be put to the test to excel in events including swimming, biking, running and kayaking, in addition to other head-to-head athletic challenges everyone must try to conquer.
“The Superstars” past winners include football stars Herschel Walker in 1987 and Jason Sehorn in 1998, decathlete Dave Johnson in 1993 and Olympic skier Bode Miller (who makes his return this year) in 2002.
The eight athletes in alphabetical order are:
JENNIFER CAPRIATI — At the young age of 13, Jennifer Capriati made her mark on the tennis world by becoming a professional as well as the youngest player to win the French Open junior singles title. At the age of 15 she was the youngest-ever semifinalist at Wimbledon. After a career hiatus due to injury, Capriati made a tremendous comeback in 2001 and became the World’s No. 1 singles player. In 2002 she beat out Michael Jordan for the ESPY for Comeback Player of the Year. She has also been recognized as the 2001 Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year, the 2001 Reuters Sportswoman of the Year and the 2001 Sportswoman of the Year by Sports Illustrated Women magazine. Over her incredible career, Capriati has won three Grand Slam titles, 14 singles titles, one doubles title and a gold medal at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona.
BRANDI CHASTAIN — Brandi Chastain is a world class athlete who has won at every stage of her career. During college in 1990 she was awarded the prestigious Hermann Award (college soccer’s equivalent of the Heisman Trophy), led Santa Clara University to two NCAA Final Four appearances and was named Freshman Player of the Year. In 1993 she played professionally in Japan, where she was named MVP. She was a founding member of Women’s United Soccer Association in 2001 and a member of the inaugural WUSA League Champions Bay Area CyberRays. Currently Chastain is a member of the 2009 Women’s Professional Soccer League. During her tenure on the U.S. National team, which began in the summer of 1988, she has picked up the following accolades and accomplishments: She was a member of the gold medal team during the 1996 Olympics, when started and played every minute of all five Olympic matches; she continued on to the gold medal-winning 1991 World Cup team, 1993 U.S. Olympic Festival gold medal team, 1999 World Cup Championship team and scored the winning goal during the 1999 World Cup. Recently she was a member of the silver medal-winning 2000 Olympic Soccer team and 2004 Olympic gold medal team.
ROBERT HORRY — Robert Horry has earned the reputation as one of the premier clutch shooters in NBA history, delivering time and time again during the NBA Playoffs. His ability to come through in pressure situations earned him the nickname “Big Shot Rob.” Horry is one of only two players in NBA history to win championships with three different teamsHouston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers and the San Antonio Spurs. Only six players in league history (all Celtics) have more championship rings than Horry’s seven. The 6ft 10inch forward attended University of Alabama and was the 11th overall pick in the 1992 NBA draft.
JEFF KENT — After 17 Major League seasons, recently retired Los Angeles Dodger Jeff Kent is the all-time leader among Major League second basemen, with 351 home runs. He also leads all second basemen with 1,389 RBI. Kent’s 508 doubles as a second baseman rank first, and his 2,215 hits rank fifth. He played 2,034 games at second base, the fifth-highest total in Major League history. During his four seasons with the Dodgers, from 2005-08, Kent led the club with 551 hits, 122 doubles, 75 homers, 311 RBI, 281 runs scored and 521 games played. He was the National League’s starting second baseman in the 2005 All-Star Game at Detroit’s Comerica Park. He ranks eighth in club history in batting average (minimum 1,800 AB), while also placing among franchise leaders with 73 home runs as a second baseman (third) and 497 games played at second base (fifth). Kent was the National League Most Valuable Player in 2000, when he hit .334 with 33 homers and 125 RBI with the Giants. He is a four-time Silver Slugger Award winner for NL second basemen, and is a five-time All-Star (1999-01, 2004-05), including four starts in the Mid-Summer Classic. Kent played in the postseason seven times, including one World Series with the Giants in 2002. His career stats include batting .290 with 560 doubles, 377 home runs and 1,518 RBI in 2,298 games with Toronto (1992), the New York Mets (1992-96), Cleveland (1996), San Francisco (1997-2002), Houston (2003-04) and the Dodgers (2005-08). He ranks 47th on baseball’s all-time RBI list, just ahead of Hall of Famer Mickey Mantle, who had 1,509. Kent also ranks 62nd in career home runs, and is tied for 20th on baseball’s all-time doubles list. He is 95th on baseball’s all-time hits list with 2,461.
KRISTI LESKINEN — Kristi Leskinen is a well known X Games action sports athlete among the world’s top freeskiers, constantly pushing the limits of the sport. There was a lot of history made at the 2005 Winter X Games; some athletes were decorated, and others walked away bitterly sore. But in one event, Women’s Skiing Superpipe, the entire field was triumphant. It was the first year the event made its way into this marquee festival, and Leskinen was at the forefront. As a headliner, she shoulders the responsibility of women’s freeskiing in particular which has moved out from under the shadow of more established action sports to receive the respect and exposure it deserves. At her first U.S. Open, Leskinen was the only woman doing the Big Air event and the only woman to take a run on the pipe. In 2004, little more than five years later, the U.S. Open hosted the largest women’s superpipe contest in the world, with 40 athletes vying for the championship. After 10 years of professional competition, Leskinen continues to dominate the podium and lives true to her motto, “Follow the fun.” Currently she is working on a new TV project which will bring out her vivacious personality and natural ability to connect with and socialize with people throughout the action sports world. This past March she hosted the first ever all-female ski and snowboard slopestyle event and rail jam at her home resort of Seven Springs in Pennsylvania. Her official website is www.kristileskinen.com
LISA LESLIE — A rare combination of power, grace, beauty and style, Lisa Leslie is one of the most recognized faces in the history of women’s sports. She is only one of a handful of players who have competed since the WNBA’s inaugural year in 1997, and has changed the course of history in more ways than one. In 2002 she became the first player to dunk in a women’s professional basketball game, a cornerstone of the WNBA, helping guide the Sparks to two WNBA titles and being named the league’s MVP three times. Leslie is the first basketball player (not just woman) to win four consecutive gold medals in basketball. In 2001 she became the first female player and the fourth professional basketball player to win all three major awards in a single season, including All-Star MVP, WNBA MVP and WNBA Finals MVP Awards, joining Shaquille O’Neal, Michael Jordan and Willis Reed in this prestigious category. Her influence is recognized off the court as well. She was named 2002 Woman of the Year by MS. Magazine, and an “Influential Woman” by The Women’s Museum. After competing in each of the WNBA’s first 10 seasons, she sat out the 2007 campaign due to pregnancy and gave birth to her first child, Lauren Jolie Lockwood, on June 15, 2007. Leslie returned to action on opening day in 2008.
BODE MILLER — Bode Miller continues his stronghold on the competition and is currently ranked No.1 in the Overall World Cup standings for skiing. Most recently he secured two Overall titles (2004-05 & 2007-08) while adding four Discipline titles, Giant Slalom in 2003-04, Super G in 2004-05, Super G in 2006-07 and Super Combined in 2007-08. His 31 career World Cup wins place him sixth in Alpine skiing history (male) and mark the most World Cup wins in the history of American Alpine ski racing. He also holds four World Championship gold medals in Downhill, Super G, Combined and Slalom, with two Olympic silver medals in the 2002 Olympics. He’s only one of two men to win a World Cup race in all four disciplines in a single season (Downhill, Super G, Slalom and Giant Slalom). Impressively, Miller holds the record for most consecutive races skied (136), from March 2002 through January 2006. His participation in “The Superstars” marks his return since being crowned champion in 2002. Additionally, his non-profit foundation, Turtle Ridge Foundation, dedicated to supporting health, diversity and sustainable living, was established by him and his family as a way to help people in need and give back to the community. TRF raises funds and support through corporate sponsors, private donors and charity events for the Boys & Girls Club of America, adaptive ski programs, inner city youth sports programs, cancer treatment centers, ski racing scholarships to deserving children and thousands of dollars’ worth of warm jackets to kids in need.
TERRELL OWENS — Terrell Owens, a wide receiver for the Buffalo Bills whose extraordinary football skills and sensational athleticism have set the standard for NFL wide receivers, is among the league’s most exciting and electrifying players. His remarkable work ethic and unparalleled commitment to the game, as well as his candid and passionate personality, make him one of the most fascinating athletes in professional sports. Chosen as much on his size and speed as for his exceptional ability, Owens was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in the third round of the 1996 NFL draft. He is entering his 14th NFL season with the Buffalo Bills. He had 69 catches for 1,052 yards and 10 touchdowns last season for Dallas. During his outstanding career, he has amassed numerous awards and honors: He has earned six Pro Bowl appearances and has been named a first-team All-Pro by the Associated Press five times. Among his other accomplishments, Owens was the second NFL player to record five seasons with 13 or more touchdowns, and he was the first to score a touchdown in seven straight “Monday Night Football” games. On September 15, 2008, in another amazing “Monday Night” game, Owens moved into second place on the NFL’s all-time career touchdown list.
The eight celebrities in alphabetical order are:
DAVID CHARVET — David Charvet, who rose to international fame on the hit shows “Baywatch” and “Melrose Place,” has moved into the feature front with starring roles in three films: He has just been cast to star in the supernatural thriller “Nephilim,” scheduled to begin production this summer; in the sports feature “Green Flash” he played a star basketball player with a future in the NBA until he chokes in a key game, with the after effects causing him to settle into an aimless life; and in the action/adventure film “Prisoners of the Sun” he played an archaeologist hired by an eccentric professor to lead his team on a national expedition to excavate a long lost city beneath an Egyptian pyramid. As a Universal Music recording artist, Charvet spent five years in Europe, where he released three successful pop rock albums as part of his five-album deal with Universal Music Group France. He has sold over 2.5 million albums to date, with three of his singles (“Leap of Faith,” “Should I Leave” and “The Tears in My Eyes”) charting in the Top 10. Charvet has traveled extensively throughout Europe and Asia, performing for packed arenas, writing music and experiencing new cultures. He has collaborated with top songwriters such as Ty Lacy (who wrote Leanne Rimes’ single, “I Need You”), and has also worked with Robbie Williams’ producer, Steve Power. Charvet has recorded a duet with Bryan Adams and worked on a duet with Seal. He is engaged to Brooke Burke (Season 7 “Dancing with the Stars” reigning champion), and the couple have two children together.
MAKSIM CHMERKOVSKIY — Best known for his work on the hit ABC show “Dancing with the Stars,” Russian born professional dancer Maksim Chmerkovskiy was introduced to the world of Ballroom Dance at the age of four when his parents brought him to a local dance school in Odessa, Ukraine. In addition to his dance abilities regularly showcased on the top rated television show, where he has been partnered with Tia Carrere, Willa Ford, boxing world champ Laila Ali, Spice Girl Melanie Brown, Olympic Champion Misty May-Treanor and actress Denise Richards, Chmerkovskiy is also a world renowned choreographer, having worked in association with famed director Franco Dragone revamping and updating the immensely popular performance show, Le Rve, at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas. He is currently a board member for the non-profit organization DanceTeamUSA, which promotes DanceSport amongst the youth of America. He also has a production company, Maksim Chmerkovskiy Productions, which organizes performances all over the world.
DAN CORTESE — Dan Cortese is well known for his hosting and acting credits for television. He burst onto the TV screen hosting “MTV Sports,” then hosted ABC’s “Crash Course” and “My Dad Is Better Than Your Dad.” His acting credits include “Joey,” “Veronica’s Closet,” “What I Like About You,” “Seinfeld” and “Rock Me Baby,” and he is currently a recurring cast member on ABC’s “Surviving Suburbia.” Cortese is of Sicilian descent. He attended and played football at the University of North Carolina. He now lives in Malibu with his wife and two kids.
PAIGE HEMMIS — Paige Hemmis (www.paigehemmis.com) may be an unlikely vision on a construction site. However, the statuesque beauty is an accomplished carpenter, skilled homebuilder, successful businesswoman and author. She is self-taught, with no formal carpentry training, and is rarely to be found without a tool of some kind in her purse. This dynamic and confident Wisconsin-born entrepreneur founded a successful real estate company and a wedding planning business before joining the design team of ABC’s Emmy-winning “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.” In 2005 she founded Tuff Chix, Inc., dedicated to performance work wear for women that is durable and fashionable. Tuff Chix is inspired by Hemmis’ own hard work and determination and features such items as pink work gloves, boots and tool belts. In December 2006, she released her first book, The Tuff Chix Guide to Easy Home Improvement, to inspire other women to tackle home improvement projects with confidence. Hemmis considers her role on “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” a blessing and feels fortunate to make her living helping others. In between extreme makeovers, she lends her time and celebrity as a spokesperson for Habitat for Humanity and other charities. She will continue her mission of giving through her Tuff Chix products & foundation, dedicating support to her favorite charities.
JULIO IGLESIAS, JR. — Julio was born in Madrid, Spain to well-known singer Julio Iglesias and the beautiful Isabel Preysler. At a very young age he moved to Miami, Florida, a place he now considers home. Although he has spent his whole life surrounded by music, his own personal journey into music didn’t begin until the late 90s, when he released his first album in English. In his second album he wanted to go back to his roots and reestablish himself; he chose to sing in Spanish and the result was the mind-expanding “Tercera Dimension” album. He got his inspiration from Anglo rock, and not only did he write lyrics, but was involved in the production of the album. “Tercera Dimension” also has some elements of rock en Espaol. In addition to music, Iglesias has hosted the Latin Grammy pre-show, guest starred on UPN’s “EVE,” and has participated in several productions for VH-1 and E! Entertainment. He was a participant in one of the most viewed shows in Spain, “Mira Quien Baila” (“Dancing with the Stars” in Spain). Recently he was chosen winner of the CMT reality program, “Gone Country,” for his talents as a singer and songwriter. In addition, last year he starred in an independent film entitled “The Music of You.”
JOANNA KRUPA — Polish-born Joanna Krupa is the personification of a true, self-made sensation who knew early on in her life that she was destined to work in the world of fashion and show business. Born in Warsaw and raised in Chicago (with a strong will and little tolerance for the word “No”), after high school she moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in modeling and acting. Her hard work and positive spirit led her to become one of the most requested models/covergirls in the world. The young beauty is recognized for her diversity, her stunning exotic looks, assorted talents and unique interests. PETA’s “I’d Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur” campaign featuring Joanna became a massive phenomenon. She’s one of the top searched women on the internet and recently launched two internet channels, www.livevideo.com/joannakrupa.com and www.Youtube.com/TheRealJoannaKrupa. Krupa has graced 110 covers of world-renowned magazines, often being titled “the sexiest woman in the world” or “sexiest top model in the world,” and was cast for several notable film and television projects. Most recently she was cast alongside Michael Madsen in “Six Days in Paradise,” to be released in fall of 2009, and was featured in E! Channel’s “The Sexiest” (syndicated worldwide) as one of the sexiest women in the world. The leggy beauty was also selected to be this year’s cover model of the prestigious annual Ocean Drive magazine, and Maxim magazine (U.S. and European) voted her among the “TOP 100” women in the world. In 2008 Krupa was cast in “Ripple Effect” with Oscar winners and nominees Minnie Driver, Virginia Madsen and Forest Whitaker. She also appeared on hit TV shows such as “Las Vegas” and “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.” Additionally, her musical skills will be showcased in June with her band project’s debut song, “Do It Right.”
ALI LANDRY — Actress Ali Landry continues to reign as one of the most versatile talents in Hollywood. Crowned Miss USA in 1996, Landry broke onto the scene and gained instant fame as “the Doritos girl” when she was featured in a commercial for Frito Lay during the 1998 Super Bowl telecast. Following the success of the commercial, she made the transition from modeling to acting with a variety of film and television roles. To show her dramatic chops, she took on a layered and complex role in the acclaimed feature “Bella,” which was screened at the Vatican and won top honors at the 2006 Toronto Film Festival. Her guest starring roles include an appearance on CBS’ “Criminal Minds,” in addition to past roles on “Felicity,” on which she recurred, ABC’s “Two Guys and a Girl” and “Popular.” Currently Landry hosts an informative and entertaining Yahoo internet series entitled “Spotlight to Nightlife,” where celebrity moms share their experiences in parenting. Other hosting credits have included a weekly music-talk show, “Farmclub.com,” and “Full Frontal Fashion.” Landry hails from Breaux Bridge, Louisiana.
ESTELLA WARREN — Before becoming a Hollywood actress, Estella Warren was a true, competitive athlete. At the young age of 12, she left home to train for the Canadian National Team as a synchronized swimmer. During her time as a competitive athlete, Warren was discovered by a talent scout and has now filled her resume with multiple feature films and television shows. Some of her work includes the box-office hits “Mr. and Mrs. Smith,” “Planet of the Apes” and television series “Law & Order” and “Ghost Whisperer.” Not only is Warren an athlete and actress, but she was also given the no. 1 spot on Maxim magazine’s Hot 100 list in 2000.