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Dorothy Hamill on 'Dancing with the Stars'

Dorothy Hamill is tempering expectations as America's sweetheart in figuring skating competes on the 16th season of ABC's "Dancing with the Stars."

"It's not as easy as you might think to go from skating to dancing!" said Hamill, who is one of four athletes competing on the dance-elimination show. "I'm just trying not to look like a complete idiot!"

Hamill, 56, is the oldest competitor in the celebrity lineup, which also includes boxer Victor Ortiz, Olympic gymnastics champion Aly Raisman and Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Jacoby Jones.

"The athletes are all sort of in the same place. None of us really have a lot of dance background," said Hamill, who won a figuring skating gold medal at the 1976 Olympics. "I know everyone is younger and trying to win this. I have no expectations of winning. I just want to learn how to dance."

The show debuts tonight at 8 ET and there will be no elimination this week. Tom Bergeron and Brooke Burke Charvet are the hosts, and Carrie Ann Inaba, Len Goodman and Bruno Tonioli are the judges.

The other competitors are: actors Andy Dick and Ingo Rademacher, Disney star Zendaya Coleman, comedian D.L. Hughley, singers Wynonna Judd and Kellie Pickler and reality stars Sean Lowe and Lisa Vanderpump.

Seven athletes -- Emmitt Smith (Season 3), Apolo Ohno (Season 4), Helio Castroneves (Season 5), Kristi Yamaguchi (Season 6), Shawn Johnson (Season 8), Hines Ward (Season 12) and Donald Driver (Season 14) -- have previously won the mirrorball trophy. Will there be an eighth?

Playbook had a few minutes with Hamill to talk about the show.

How are your emotions heading into Monday's live show?

"I'm very nervous. I know a lot of people are thinking ice skating translates easily to dancing because skating is musical and seems very dance-like. But the movements are so different. I still have a ways to go. I'm getting frustrated during the learning process right now. I'm trying not to be too hard on myself. I just want to make sure I don't injure my partner, Tristan MacManus!"

The perfectionist in you is coming through, right?

"It's so frustrating. Tristan doesn't appear to get frustrated but he knows I am. He has been so patient. What seems like a simple idea of taking a step forward isn't as easy as you might think. I'm used to pushing and gliding on the ice and it doesn't work the same way on the dance floor. It sounds like such an easy direction. I've been skating for, what, 50 years? You don't unlearn things that quickly."

So why do you think you're competing?

"I have been a fan of the show for so many years and I saw all these contestants who I couldn't believe are out there doing it. Sometimes it's a good reminder to step out of your comfort zone and do something different when you have a chance. It's a great reminder each time I get frustrated."

There are a lot of athletes this season, and so many athletes have previously won. Will your competitive juices take over?

I'm going to be competitive but mostly with myself. I'll be happy with it if I'm doing the best I can do. I know that, like ice skating, it's really in the judges hands. I don't have expectations to beat people. For me, it's more about learning how to dance properly and not be a complete klutz that I am now!"

So what do you hope to learn about yourself?

"It's a great challenge for me. The only thing I do know is ice skating. After 56 years, it's great to have the opportunity to learn proper instructions in something else. I have this great opportunity to learn from amazing dancers. I know that it's something that I won't be great at. I just think it's going to be a fun experience."