Bristol Sheeran Marie Palin was born on October 18, 1990, and raised in Wasilla, Alaska. Her mother, Sarah Louise Palin (née Heath; born February 11, 1964), has explained that Bristol Palin's first name was chosen for the Bristol Inn where she (her mother) had been employed; Bristol, Connecticut, the headquarters city of ESPN, where Sarah Palin had hoped to work as a sportscaster; and the Bristol Bay region of Alaska, where Bristol's father, Todd Mitchell Palin (born September 6, 1964), grew up. Todd's mother Blanche Palin (née Kallstrom) is one-quarter Yup'ik, and his maternal grandmother, Helena (Bartman) Andree, is a member of the Curyung tribe. Besides working for BP oil in Alaska, Todd is also a commercial salmon fisherman at Bristol Bay on the Nushugak River.
Starting in 2005, Bristol Palin (right) attended Juneau-Douglas High School and began dating Levi Johnston (above, left). In 2008 she moved to Anchorage to live with her aunt and uncle and attended West Anchorage High School. She returned to Wasilla and graduated from Wasilla High School in May 2009.
Palin and Johnston's son, Tripp Easton Mitchell Johnston, was born on December 27, 2008. The couple, which had become engaged during the 2008 presidential campaign, broke off their engagement in March 2009.
Palin joined the Fall 2010 season of "Dancing with the Stars." Her partner is professional Mark Ballas, who is a two-time champion on the show, having won with Kristi Yamaguchi, in season 6, and with Shawn Johnson in season 8. Palin's first dance was a cha-cha to "Mama Told Me Not to Come" by Three Dog Night, seen as a humorous reference to Sarah Palin.
Her successful run on the show has not been without controversy. For example, there was widespread media coverage of her failure to turn in her absentee ballot for the November 2010 general election, which she said was due to her dancing rehearsal schedule.
There has been speculation regarding her unexpected success on the show from public voting, when the judges have frequently given her lower scores than opponents. This speculation has included allegations of fraudulent online voting using multiple e-mail addresses. Executives at ABC and the show's executive producer, Conrad Green, have stated that "checks and balances" in the system, including IP address verification, prevent such voting practices, and that "[t]here's nothing in the voting that looks dissimilar to previous seasons."
Green has speculated that Palin received votes for political reasons by backers of Sarah Palin in the Tea Party movement. In addition to support from older viewers who felt maternal toward Palin and empathized with her lack of prior experience. Palin herself credited her success to the support of her fans who were tuning in each week to see her improvement.
*Definition of COWAN:
For a related posting about a "cowan-synchronicity," please see here.
[Hat tip to Adam Parfrey of Feral House for alerting me to the original news item.]