May 27, 2011
Hines Ward spoke with reporters Friday on his experience in winning the recent 'Dancing With The Stars" competition. Here's some excerpts:
On how winning the mirror-ball trophy compares to his football accomplishments:
"It's a great accomplishment, no question. But comparing the mirror-ball trophy to the Lombardi Trophy is really night and day. It's a great feeling. I'd never danced a day in my life before. I never went to my high school prom because I was too scared to slow dance with somebody."
On how the opportunity came about:
"It just seemed like a great opportunity. My manager and I thought it would be good to get more fan exposure and be introduced to another side of the fan perspective because so many people watch the show."
On what he expected and what it turned out to be:
"I totally went into it just expecting the whole dance feel - I thought I could do that - but it's a lot harder than it looks. When we first got there I was a little reluctant. My whole thing was just not to be the first guy knocked off the show. But as the weeks went on, I got more involved in it, and thought 'This is actually kind of fun and I'm getting in shape at the same time.' You definitely have to be fit to be a dancer."
On how it helped his football game:
"I think it's helped me with my footwork and getting in and out of breaks faster. I took the same approach [to Dancing With The Stars] as I take to the football field. I studied and watched previous routines. I sat there and studied. I went home and wrote down on a piece of paper my routine, and applied the same things I would in football over to the ballroom."
On the time commitment:
"Had I known [how much it would be] beforehand, I probably would have thought twice about it! It's definitely a hard thing to do, because every time we went out there it was five hours a day, so it was definitely a lot longer than I was expecting to be practicing."
"I don't live life looking back, so I wanted to at least try. I respect all the celebrities for putting themselves out there like that. It's a great opportunity for everybody to showcase their talents."
On thanking the Bulldog Nation on television after the win:
"[I wanted to thank Georgia] because that's where I started from and I still live in Atlanta. Georgia will always be home for me. I love the fine people in Athens and Bulldog Nation. People always come up to me and tell me they went to Georgia - it's a family to me. The first thing people tell me when I'm signing autographs is 'Go Dogs!' I went to school there and I understand the connection with the Bulldogs and the football team. I'm grateful for my time there, and for the fans who have supported me my whole career and are still staying with me and voted for me on Dancing With The Stars."