Olympic champions have set the bar high on Dancing with the Stars, so much so that Jonny Moseley feels "enormous pressure" to deliver on Skating with the Stars. "I have a lot to live up to," the freestyle skier, who won gold in moguls at the 1998 Winter Olympics, tells TVGuide.com. "The Olympians on Dancing have dominated. Apolo [Ohno] won, [Kristi] Yamaguchi won, [Evan] Lysacek got second, but should've won, I heard! I hope I can do well." But winning the competition isn't his only goal. See what else Moseley, who's partnered with 2007 U.S. pairs champion Brooke Castile, wants to accomplish, which Dancing alum he doesn't want to look like and if he can bring his signature aerial Dinner Roll to the ice.
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TVGuide.com: How'd you get involved with the show?
Jonny Moseley: Deena [Katz, the casting director] emailed me. She basically said, "Can you skate?" I said, "Well, I can cross over forward, backward." I thought I could do an axel, but it turns out I can just jump and do a 360, which is totally different from an axel! I did some ballet skiing back in the day, so I was thinking I had some skills, but I don't. It was a no-brainer for me. Dancing with the Stars is awesome and it looks like everyone has a great time. To me, adding skating is even better. I love watching those guys in the Olympics and they're awesome. I've always wanted to be a better skater, so it was an easy decision.
TVGuide.com: Were you ever approached to do Dancing?
Moseley: Yeah, I was, back in the day. I made a stupid call. I thought I was too cool for it or something. I've regretted it ever since, so that's one of the reasons I jumped on this so quick too.
TVGuide.com: How's practice going?
Moseley: I'm clearly 10 times better than when I started, but I don't have that comfort. Everything will look good, but then my feet will go and I'll be on my butt. I don't have the confidence that I could pull off the recovery. In skiing I know that if I get in trouble, I could do something to still pull off a trick, but this is awkward. I'm waiting for that moment where it clicks. Brooke is tough. She reminds me of my skiing coach.
Moseley: I really want to learn an axel. We started with lutzes and salchows, so that's going OK. I was able to do an axel the other day and we had a spotting ring where they pull you in case you crash. She said I was pretty good, so there is hope. I have an easy time with some of the difficult moves that she wouldn't expect me to be trying, but some of the basic stuff I have a hard time getting, like the edge changes and little footwork. Those are the highs and lows.TVGuide.com: How's the routine looking?
Moseley: The routine is coming along. We have some cool moves in there. There's a pencil drop. The hardest part for me is to not look goofy! It's the way I'm made up! When I put my hands over my head, you'd think I'd look tough [deep voice] because I'm an athlete, but I look the other way. Remember Aaron [Carter] on Dancing? I almost look like him. It's like I'm doing jazz hands all the time. We're, like, runaways [in our first routine], so it's not suitable for it. So I need to work on my acting.TVGuide.com: What from your skiing background has helped you?
Moseley: In general, it seems like a lot of stuff I've learned in skiing is actually hurting me. When we spin in skiing, I can do a 720, a 1080, but the mechanics of that is I throw my upper body first and I'm off-axis. They're bad habits for skating. I think I can throw into a jump, but I can't, and it's super awkward for me. The good thing is that I'm used to crashing hard, so I'm not afraid of that.
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TVGuide.com: Are you at least working on a skating version of the Dinner Roll?
Moseley: [Laughs] I can't freakin' do any of that! I have no air. ... I need a signature move here. We have a move in our first routine that kind of incorporated skiing. We do a left turn, a right turn and we jump and do a spread eagle. We're working on possibly doing a 360 mute grab, which I did in '98. I haven't seen that done in skating. I want to do a big toe loop and grab my boot. Maybe I'll get there.
TVGuide.com: And then they'll name the element after you.
Moseley: Yes! If I can get an element named after me in skating, I could pretty much die now. That'll be it.
TVGuide.com: If you win, what which title would mean more? Olympic gold medalist or Skating with the Stars champ?
Moseley: [Laughs] At this point, Skating for sure. I barely even remember that medal! That was 12 years ago! But I wouldn't be doing this without the medal, so I have to give credit to it.
Skating with the Stars premieres Monday at 9:13/8:13c on ABC.