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Anna Kournikova joins NBC'S 'The Biggest Loser' for season 12

by jmaloni
Wed, May 25th 2011 05:30 pm
Pictured from left, new `TBL` trainer Anna Kournikova and show host Alison Sweeney. (NBC photo by Trae Patton)
Pictured from left, new "TBL" trainer Anna Kournikova and show host Alison Sweeney. (NBC photo by Trae Patton)

Superstar athlete will become newest trainer for new season that premieres in September

Renowned tennis star and certified trainer Anna Kournikova will join NBC's hit series "The Biggest Loser" for season 12 as the show's newest trainer. Her addition to "The Biggest Loser" team is one of many changes for season 12 of the show, which will premiere in September on NBC.

As a former world No. 1 doubles player and No. 8 singles player, a healthy lifestyle has always been an integral part of Kournikova's life and she is honored to have the opportunity to help contestants - and motivate viewers - to get fit and healthy.

"I'm so excited to be a part of "The Biggest Loser" team; I've always been a fan of the show," she said. "As a former professional tennis player and certified trainer, this is a wonderful opportunity for me to share my enthusiasm for staying fit across America's homes. I'm honored to join a program that embraces the values of a healthy lifestyle and is committed to fighting obesity. I look forward to the upcoming season and seeing the results we can achieve together!"

"We couldn't be more excited about Anna joining 'The Biggest Loser' family," said Paul Telegdy, executive vice president of alternative programming and specials for NBC and Universal Media Studios. "She is a fierce competitor and an accomplished athlete, and we are confident that she will be a powerful motivator to contestants to get fit and healthy."

Kournikova was born in Moscow, Russia, and her passion for tennis and being active began at the age of 5 when she picked up her first tennis racquet. In 1990, at the age of 8, she started playing competitively and at age 13, she secured the No. 1 singles ranking and was crowned the ITF World Champion. Her meteoric rise continued after she turned pro in 1995, and in 1998, she broke into the world's top 20 at No. 16.

She ended 1999 with a year-end ranking of No. 12 in singles and No. 1 in doubles, and ended 2000 as No. 8 in singles and No. 4 in doubles. Kournikova defeated many of the world's top players who had competed on the women's tour, including Lindsay Davenport, Monica Seles, Steffi Graff, Jennifer Capriati and Martina Hingis. These impressive wins, along with her consistent top 10 rankings, two Grand Slam doubles titles at the 1999 and 2002 Australian Open, and three Grand Slam Mixed Doubles Finals, proved her ability to excel in both singles and doubles on the WTA Tour.

Off the court, Kournikova's passion for health and fitness is reflected in her work for children through various global organizations. She has worked with the Boys & Girls Club of America on programs that promote an active lifestyle, and helped launch Cartoon Network's "Move it Movement" campaign to get kids active during summer months. She also worked with PSI, which focuses on children's health around the world. In addition, as an active participant in the USO, she has gone to various military bases around the world to meet the troops and speak to children about staying healthy and active.

Kournikova is replacing trainer Jillian Micheals, who opted to leave "TBL" for other opportunities.

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