Hope Solo says Maks Chmerkovskiy slapped her -- hard -- on 'Dancing With the Stars'
In her new memoir, "Solo: A Memoir of Hope" -- which she is incessantly promoting on the talk show circuit -- Solo accuses her "Dancing With the Stars" partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy of slapping, hitting and manhandling her during their rehearsals.
In one rehearsal segment shown on the ABC reality competition's Season 13, Maks is seen shoving her. But she said his aggression went much further than that.
"He was often nasty, swearing at me and being harshly critical," she writes. "He manhandled me in rehearsals from the start, pushing me, whacking my stomach, bending my arms roughly. I thought that was just how it went -- how dancers worked with each other.
"But it kept getting worse," continues Solo. "One day, Maks was trying to put me in a certain position and hit my stomach so hard with his open palm that I had a red handprint there for the rest of the day."
"Maks was rough and mean with me, flinging me and pushing me around. I could see the shocked looks on the faces of the other dancers," she said about the rehearsal broadcast, after which pro Derek Hough volunteered to partner with her for the rest of the day.
During another rehearsal, she writes, Maks "wanted my head in a specific position. To achieve that, he slapped me across the face. Hard." So why did she stick with Maks, even after the network offered to partner her with another pro?
"I didn't want to end Maks' career" or look like a "prima donna," the gold medalist says.
Chmerkovskiy has not publicly commented on the allegations of his former partner, with whom he finished in fourth place last year, but he did post a semi-cryptic tweet on Aug. 16: "Always hated hypocrites and liars...but when someone is both AND an opportunist, I just feel bad for them. Can't win at someone's expense..."
In a series of tweets from the Olympics, Solo also blasted former soccer star Brandi Chastain's criticism of teammate Rachel Buehler during her live commentary.
"Its 2 bad we cant have commentators who better represents the team&knows more about the game @brandichastain!" wrote the apostrophe-averse athlete.
"Its important 2 our fans 2 enjoy the spirit of the olympics," she continued. "Its not possible when sum1 on air is saying that a player is the worst defender!" Solo concluded her rant by saying, "I feel bad 4 our fans that have 2 push mute, especially bc @arlowhite is fantastic.@brandichastain should be helping 2 grow the sport."
Solo didn't back down on her criticism of Chastain during an appearance on ESPN's SportsCenter Friday (Aug. 17).
"I just don't think she's the best commentator that can bring our sport to life," she said. "There's no regrets. I simply want the best commentators on air to help build our sport."