Off Beat: Teammate makes sure Hope doesn’t dance Solo

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Tina Ellertson and Hope Solo have had each other’s back for a decade, while competing against the best soccer players in the world.

Things didn’t change when the competition became Ricki Lake and the Karsdashian family.

Ellertson has been seen frequently on ABC’s prime-time hit, “Dancing With the Stars.” Solo, a soccer goalkeeper, has been one of the stars, and Ellertson has appeared in a supporting (literally) role.

At the University of Washington, with the U.S. women’s national team and with three different pro clubs, “She has been a teammate for 10 years and a friend for 10 years,” Ellertson said.

The show’s two-night season finale will air Monday and Tuesday on Channel 2. Solo didn’t make the finals after being eliminated a week ago, but she will be part of the season-ending broadcast.

‘That’s television’

Ellertson (known as Tina Frimpong when she starred at Hudson’s Bay High School) was in the studio several times to cheer on her friend.

Then, 10 days ago, ABC sent a crew to Vancouver for an in-depth interview. The TV crew spent about 1[ ] hours at the Ellertsons’ home — “It probably took 35 minutes just to set up the lighting” — to interview Tina and 10-year-old daughter, MacKenzie.

“She and Hope have a great relationship,” Ellertson said. “I did my interview, then she did hers.”

When the show aired on Monday, Tina was in the audience when her interview segment was shown to the studio audience on a screen.

MacKenzie, meanwhile, was watching the show at home. Her segment wasn’t aired.

Tina said all she could tell her daughter was: “That’s television.”

Ellertson found that sitting in the audience was like being in the middle of a sports crowd during a big-time rivalry game.

“I have the Kardashians to my right, and Ricki Lake’s husband to my left,” Ellertson said. “It is a competition, and that competitive side does come out.”

They talk a little good-natured smack and second-guess the judging, she said.

They all want the best for their stars, but “it is not life or death,” she said.

Eventually, she said, “We all become a little family.”

— Tom Vogt

Off Beat lets members of The Columbian news team step back from our newspaper beats to write the story behind the story, fill in the story or just tell a story.