The Garden City Telegram
3/21/2013
OPINIONS AND COMMENTARY

Victor's dance

Garden City native Ortiz shines in show's opener.

As a boxing champion, Garden City native Victor Ortiz knows his share of fancy steps in the ring.

On Monday, Ortiz — the former welterweight champion who's still rated among the top boxers in the world — took advantage of an opportunity to put some moves to work on the dance floor.

One of this season's celebrity hoofers on the television program "Dancing with the Stars," Ortiz made his debut in the show's season opener alongside dancing partner Lindsay Arnold, a newcomer to the cast of professional dancers on the show.

Viewers Monday also saw pre-recorded footage of Ortiz and his partner practicing their first dance routine, the foxtrot, which led a struggling Ortiz to declare that boxing and dancing have nothing in common.

But he proved otherwise in the first round of the televised dance competition Monday. Among comments from judges were how boxing and dancing do indeed share similarities in the need for rhythm, timing, technique and fluidity of movement. To his credit, Ortiz picked up points for being light on his feet and having good posture.

The show also gave Ortiz an opportunity to share some details of his upbringing in Garden City, and how after being knocked down in life, he managed to get up and succeed.

Abandoned by their parents at a young age, Ortiz and his siblings ended up in foster care.

Ortiz could have turned out like so many troubled youngsters who grow up without a sense of direction. Fortunately, he encountered a number of positive role models who helped him achieve his dream of becoming a world champion boxer.

As part of his latest venture, the young man from a humble background now is mixing it up with such celebrities as fellow dance contestants Dorothy Hamill, Olympic gold medalist in figure skating; Jacoby Jones, Super Bowl-winning receiver for the Baltimore Ravens; and Wynonna Judd, country music star.

At the same time, the celebrities and a national audience also have an opportunity to learn about Ortiz, whose growing celebrity is part of the compelling story of his life — one that continues to inspire others.