Arike Ogunbowale on Dancing With the Stars

A few weeks ago, the Notre Dame women’s basketball team won their second ever NCAA national championship title. Leading the way to those victories was junior guard Arike Ogunbowale, who scored the game-winning buzzer-beaters in both the semi-finals and in the championship. Her amazing basketball skills even got her the attention of Kobe Bryant on Twitter regarding her “Mamba mentality.” Needless to say, Arike Ogunbowale is our hero and a national treasure.

This season, the reality show Dancing with the Stars decided to go with an athlete-driven season. This season has many athletes from the Olympics this past winter competing, such as Adam Rippon and Jamie Anderson, and many famous former athletes, such as Tonya Harding and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Among those great, world-renowned athletes competing this season is Notre Dame’s own Arike Ogunbowale. She is the first collegiate athlete dancing on the show. If anyone can be a top student-athlete at Notre Dame and be on a reality TV show at the same time, it is Arike Ogunbowale.

This move is a huge move for not only Arike, but for college athletes in general. The NCAA typically fights to keep all activities of college athletes under their control. For example, they even declared one student ineligible because he monetized his own YouTube channel. But, they gave Arike Ogunbowale a waiver to go ahead and be on the show, even if she is paid for it. This is a new move for the NCAA, and it could mean there are changes coming for the future in terms of its attitudes toward the athletes.

Arike’s dance partner is pro Gleb Savchenko, and the season kicked off this past week. The pair performed a basketball-inspired salsa dance. In the beginning of the performance, Arike was spinning a gold basketball on her finger that actually ended up hitting her head, but nonetheless, she adapted and danced like nothing happened. The dance was fun, upbeat, and one of the judges said he even wanted to go join them. And, in classic basketball-player fashion, Arike wore tennis shoes during her performance instead of the typical heels. One of the judges decided to challenge her to wear heels next week, so we will see if she trades in her comfortable shoes for some classic DWTS heels.

The craziest part about this first week, though, is her schedule. After the live performance, she took a red-eye flight into Chicago, drove into South Bend to get here by 8:30 in order to give a presentation in her project management class at 9:30. Apparently being on national television is not an excused absence.

Arike and Glen received a score of 20 out of 30 from the three judges and enough votes from the audience around the country in order to move on to the next week. So, everyone, tune in on Mondays to see your fellow member of the Fighting Irish perform on live national television, and vote for her so she can continue on and win yet another trophy.

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