Yes, Hines Ward has been in the top three of the leader board week after week. Yes, he’s been the Las Vegas odds makers’ pick to win for several weeks running. And yes, he had an amazing night on Monday’s Dancing with the Stars with a classy freestyle that earned him a 30 and an equally amazing judges’ choice samba that scored him a 29.
So does that mean Ward is a shoo-in for the trophy? Maybe, but the pro athlete already feels like he’s standing in the winner’s circle. “I’ve proved to people that I can dance. I’ve already won,” Ward told reporters after Monday’s performance show.
That said, Ward knows exactly where that mirror ball trophy will go, should he win one. “I have a place for this at home, right beside my Super Bowl MVP trophy!”
Since he’s got some stiff competition from Disney star Chelsea Kane — who also scored a 29 and a 30 on Monday — and Kirstie Alley — who’s a real crowd pleaser — Ward thinks it’s anyone’s trophy to win on Tuesday. “Chelsea and Mark, they’re great. Maks and Kirstie are great. It’s just a matter of whatever you feel. I think everyone’s style is a little different,” he said.
Fair enough, but he’s not shy to point out his consistently high scores. “For week to week we’ve been right there at the top of the leader board. Week in and week out, hopefully the fans will see that and vote for us.”
Meanwhile, Ward’s partner Kym Johnson is still recovering from that nasty neck injury from last week and is still wearing a neck brace during rehearsals. “I’m not too bad,” she told reporters. “My movement has improved this week. I’m feeling much better. We did those lifts slowly. We really mastered how to get me up. I was going to make sure we did it right. I wore my neck brace in rehearsals. We were more cautious going into it, but we were confident about the tricks.”
When asked whether he’s suffered any injuries, Hines joked, “Mentally. Dropping her on her head. Getting locked up by the police. But other than that, health wise I’m fine. I’m still in awe that we pulled off our routine.”