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Formerly Paralyzed ESPN Host Victoria Arlen Joins ‘Dancing with the Stars’ Cast

Victoria Arlen, 22, will compete on DWTS a year and a half after learning how to walk again.

There are more famous athletes on the upcoming season of ABC’s Dancing with the Stars—Terrell Owens and Derek Fisher—but none more remarkable than Victoria Arlen. 

Arlen, 22, will compete on DWTS a year and a half after learning how to walk again.

When Arlen was 11, she contracted a rare autoimmune disease that left her in a vegetative state. She spent nearly four years “locked” inside her body, aware of her surroundings but unable to communicate in any way. By the age of 15, she slowly regained the ability to move but was left paralyzed from the waist down. Two years later, Arlen won three silvers and a gold at the Paralympics.

Arlen was hired by ESPN as a features reporter in late 2015 and in March 2016 took her first unassisted steps in 10 years.

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Arlen is one of four athletes competing on this season of DWTS, in addition to Fisher, Owens and WWE wrestler Nikki Bella.