"My whole skating career, I've been criticized for not being musical and graceful. This is the time to prove a lot of critics wrong," said Lycacek.
Also, he has some big shoes to fill. Athletes have often fared well on this show.
Fellow skater Kristi Yamaguchi took home the trophy in season six.
Other past athletic champs include Olympic speed skater Apolo Anton Ohno and gymnast Shawn Johnson, who won season eight's mirror ball.
Plus, race car driver Helio Castroneves and football great Emmit Smith are also past season winners.
One thing Lycacek says his athletic background helps with is playing through the pain.
"As an athlete, they say if you wake up feeling great then you aren't working hard enough. I'm used to taking a lot of information and picking out the key points that are going to work. I'm used to criticism. It's like a continuation of figure skating training, but what's better is that's she's holding my hand and we're going through everything as a team," Lycacek said.
He sees more than a mirror ball trophy in his future. He was eyeing Eyewitness News reporter George Pennacchio's Channel 7 pin.
George was a good sport and made him a deal.
"You get a 10, you get a 7," said George.
"I get a 10, I get a 7. Okay, deal," Lycacek agreed. He said the pin is comparable to winning an Olympic gold medal.
One of Lycacek's competitors, soap star Aiden Turner, says after just a few weeks of rehearsals, he is already starting to feel like a dancer.
"You get this adrenaline rush," said Turner. "And you feel really good and get a dancer's high where you've been running for 45 minutes and get that lift."
The cast also includes: Shannen Doherty, Pamela Anderson and Nicole Scherzinger, who says her spin on the Viennese Waltz is a very different from the hip hop moves she's used with the Pussycat Dolls.
"It's definitely a lot more controlled and reserved," said Scherzinger. "It is all about the frame work and the body. Derek is discipling me in that way and I think it's cool. I feel like such a lady when I'm doing this dance."
Sports stars hitting the floor include: NFL star Chad Ochocinco, Olympic figure skating champion Evan Lysacek, and ESPN host Erin Andrews. All three will move from the sidelines to center stage.
And then there's former astronaut Buzz Aldrin, who says he knows what it will take to stick around for this competition.
"Persistence, patience, and appreciation of talent," said Aldrin.
Reality TV star Kate Gosselin dances her way back onto television, along with the most recent "Bachelor," Jake Pavelka.
And comedian Niecy Nash is going to bring her dancing skills to the floor.
"Don't let all this goodness fool you. I can do more than shake a tail feather. People keep asking me, 'Oh my God, how do you feel about the fact that your body is going to transform? You're gonna lose all this weight,' said Nash. "I don't feel good about that. I like the thickness of it all. I wanna keep my jiggly parts. So I have threatened Louis to please let me keep my jiggly parts, so he said I could."
You can catch all the action on ABC7 starting at 8 p.m.