"Dancing with the Stars: Athletes" premiered in a two-hour episode on Monday, April 30, 2018. When the athletes were introduced, they came out dressed in gold and some of them carried the instrument that made them famous. The three judges came out wearing a referee outfit, but they changed later during the show.

Live show voting

For the first time ever, there was live voting. Since there are only four weeks in this short season, the public had 10 votes and could vote for their favorites during the live broadcast. Those votes were combined with the judges' scores, and the two eliminations took place during the last few minutes of the show.

First eliminations

Three couples were in danger of elimination. They were snowboarder Jamie Anderson and her partner Artem Chigvintsev, baseball star Johnny Damon with partner Emma Slater, and Tonya Harding with partner Sasha Farber. The audience gashed when Tonya's name was called because she nailed her foxtrot with a score of 23 out of 30. It is no secret that some people voted on her past rather than on her dancing.

The couple who was safe to stay for another week was Tonya and Sasha. That meant the newlyweds will be separated. Sasha gets to stay while his new wife Emma Slater was eliminated with her partner Johnny Damon.

Things of interest

After dancing in sneakers, Arike Ogunbowale was advised by judge Carrie Ann Inaba to wear heels next week. Rapper Master P was highly criticized by head judge Ken Goodman during Season 2 in 2006 when he insisted on wearing sneakers. The rapper holds the title for being the worst contestant on "DWTS."

Arike is the youngest contestant this season.

However, that is not the only thing that makes the 21-year-old contestant different from the other nine contestants. She needed a waiver from the NCAA to appear on the show and to accept any compensation that comes from her participation. The Notre Dame junior is a member of the women's basketball team. She and partner Gleb Savchenko received an average score of 20 out of 30.

The oldest contestant is basketball legend 7'2'' Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. He danced not only with her partner 5' 6" Lindsay Arnold but also with a group of other dancers. The 71-year-old cancer survivor received a score of 17 out of 30 for his Cha Cha. That was the lowest score of the night. Even so, he and Lindsay were not in danger of elimination. He was safe because fans admire him which was the opposite of their feelings for Harding.

The favorite to win the Mirror Ball trophy is 28-year-old Olympian bronze winner figure skater Adam Rippon who received a score of 24 out of 30 which was one of the highest scores of the night with partner Jenna Johnson who is in her second season as a pro. Adam's friend Olympian figure skater Mirai Nagasu and partner Alan Bersten received a score of 25 out of 30. That was the highest score during the premiere.