Meet Val Chmerkovskiy's New DWTS Partner Victoria Arlen with 5 Fast Facts

Meet Val Chmerkovskiy's New DWTS Partner Victoria Arlen with 5 Fast Facts

Meet Val Chmerkovskiy‘s new partner for Dancing With The Stars season 25 — Victoria Arlen!

The 22-year-old Paralympian and ESPN commentator’s story is truly inspiring, and will give you that push to never ever give up, because that’s exactly what Victoria didn’t do.

She was diagnosed with two rare conditions known as transverse myelitis and acute disseminated encephalomyelitis at only 11-years-old. Victoria quickly lost the ability to speak, eat, walk and move and eventually put her in a four-year long coma without use of her legs for nearly 10 years.

It was her brothers who Victoria has to credit with getting her back into the pool — they literally threw her in!

“As I began to heal from my illness, I came to the sad realization that I would never swim again,” Victoria remembers. I didn’t think I could swim without my legs. But my brothers disagreed, so in 2010 they threw me into our pool. I was terrified.”

She adds, “But it was a turning point in my life. It was the “jump” I needed to get back to my life. When I was swimming, I was free from the chair.”

Want to learn more about Victoria? Check out our 5 Fast Facts below!

  • Victoria put her all into physical therapy so she could walk again: “I trained seven days a week—three, four, five hour days of just training”
  • While she was going through treatments and in a coma, she ended up missing five years of school. But she was like, no biggie: “I doubled up my courses so I could catch up to them [my brothers].”
  • She was bullied when she returned to school: “I remember coming home from high school one day crushed because kids were bullying me because of my chair. I had been so happy to return to school and after that day, I didn’t want to go back.”
  • At 17, Victoria was on the USA Paralympic swim team and competed at the London Games. At the end of them, she ended up bringing three silver medals and a gold in the 100-meter freestyle, and also set a world record in the 100-meter free.
  • Just after those games though, she was disqualified from the Paralympic Swimming World Championships in Montreal after the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) ruled that her condition was not permanent—even though her legs were still completely paralyzed at the time.

Stay tuned for info on the upcoming season of Dancing With The Stars!

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