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Skaters show up to support Raisman on 'DWTS'

Gold, Rippon get behind-the-scenes look at making of live TV show

Aly Raisman's Olympic sports background makes her a favorite on this season's <i>Dancing with the Stars</i> among the figure skating contingent.
Aly Raisman's Olympic sports background makes her a favorite on this season's Dancing with the Stars among the figure skating contingent. (ABC)

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By Lois Elfman, special to icenetwork.com
(05/16/2013) - A back problem may have caused Olympic champion Dorothy Hamill to make an early exit from Dancing with the Stars, but that doesn't mean familiar faces from the skating world have been absent from the ballroom. Over the course of season 16, several skaters have been on hand to check out the action.

"Being in the studio for a live show was incredible," U.S. silver medalist Gracie Gold said. "It was everything that it looks like on TV. They had the big disco ball, the lights, the stage, the judges -- it was just like it looks on TV."

Adam Rippon came with a group of skating friends to check out Olympic gold medalist gynmast Aly Raisman. Rippon met Raisman, who is partnered by Mark Ballas (Kristi Yamaguchi's partner in season six), at the "Skating and Gymnastics Spectacular" last year.

"The studio was awesome -- the sets, live band, everything," Rippon said. "The energy is crazy. Because the show is live, you have to constantly be cheering. There were two rules: One, when one person starts clapping, everyone must clap; and two, when one person stands, everyone stands.

"I was really impressed by the whole thing. The dancing was great. The production was great. I was so glad I was able to go and watch live."

Gold, who is also friends with Raisman, was impressed with the myriad aspects that go into produdcing a live television show.

"With the pro dance number, there was even fire," Gold said. "I thought, 'Wow, the people who put on this show are extremely gifted.' It's very complicated. The energy of the whole building is amazing."

Both Rippon and Gold were impressed with Raisman's dancing, and found the professional dancers to be incredibly fast and powerful.

"Aly is my favorite, but I am totally biased," Rippon said. "I was so excited to see her doing so well on the show."

On Monday night, there will be four teams in the DWTS final, a first for the show: Raisman and Ballas, Disney star Zendaya and Val Chmerkovskiy, Super Bowl champion Jacoby Jones and Karina Smirnoff, and country singer Kellie Pickler and Derek Hough.

When asked for their predictions, Rippon went with Raisman, while Gold said it was a tough call.

"I voted for Aly a lot because she's my friend, because I know her and she's so sweet," Gold said. "Kellie Pickler I think is awesome. ... I definitely think Aly, Zendaya and Kellie will be top three. I think that Kellie might win."

Would either Rippon or Gold be inspired to go on the show if given the opportunity?

"I definitely dance around my kitchen after I watch the show," Gold said. "I think it's an amazing show, and it would be so much fun to be on it."

Hamill will return to the dance floor with partner Tristan MacManus for the finale on Tuesday, when the season 16 champion will be named.