Shawn Johnson has a new trophy to add to her collection of Olympic medals! The 17-year-old gymnast won Dancing With the Stars Tuesday night. She and professional dance partner Mark Ballas beat out fellow finalists Gilles Marini and Melissa Rycroft on the ABC show's season finale.
"I've learned I can be more than just a gymnast!" Johnson, the third Olympian in eight seasons to win the mirrorball prize, told Usmagazine.com. "I've really grown as a person. This has really changed my life. This whole thing has been the time of my life — just an amazing experience." All three finalists performed one last dance, each earning a perfect score of 30 from the judges. After viewer votes were combined with the judges' scores, Rycroft was dismissed first.
Show host Tom Bergeron said "less than one percent" separated Johnson and runner-up Marini, who was paired with pro dancer Cheryl Burke. Johnson and Ballas were completely shocked when they were announced as winners. "I was blown away — absolutely floored!" Ballas, who hit the ground when they found out they won, told Us.
Johnson adds: "Especially when they said less than one percent! I could not believe it!" Why did they deserve the top prize? "Shawn has improved every week, [and] she's really peaked over the last three weeks with the samba, the tango — they all showed consistent improvement," Ballas told Us. "Then we came out and gave everything we had to the freestyle. We are so honored and want to tell the fans thank you for voting for us."
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