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'Superstar' Maks: Athlete or celebrity?

Hollywood Wrap with George Pennacchio
June 30, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Professional dancer Maksim Chmerkovskiy has become a fan favorite after several years on "Dancing With the Stars." But Maks is spending his summer doing every sport but dancing as part of the competitive reality show "The Superstars."He's not on the dance floor anymore. Maks is one of the celebrities battling for athletic supremacy on the ABC show, which pairs up celebrities with professional athletes in a take-off on the old "Battle of the Network Stars."

Being a part of the competition wasn't easy.

"We had exciting episodes. We had injuries," said Maks. "I am not revealing anything, I'm not saying anything, I shouldn't, but there were injuries. Obviously it's a sporting event."

Maks is paired with Olympic skier and X Games athlete Kristi Leskinen.

"[Kristi is] an amazing person, we had so much fun," said Maks. "We bonded very, very well. I have made another friend."

"I think Maks was the celebrity that was most prepared," said Kristi. "He wasn't scared, wanted to win, and wasn't scared to tell anyone that."

"We ran, swam, jump, climbed," explained Maks. "You know, it was based on decathlon-type events, and it was pretty grueling."

Away from this competition, Maks is a dancer known primarily for his work on "Dancing With the Stars." He believes dancers are athletes, which did cause a little commotion.

"At one point in the competition, people were questioning me being in the show as a celebrity, because I am an athlete," said Maks. "And you know, I'm not upset. As a matter of fact, I am very happy with people saying that.

"So if people think that my being on 'Superstars' wasn't really fair to others, great. That means that I've won," said Maks. "It's a win-win situation for me, because I want to bring dancing onto that next level, like gymnastics."

Like gymnastics, expect some tumbling along the way. "The Superstars" airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on ABC7.

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