— Good Morning America (@GMA) November 23, 2016
“It was the ugliest cry,” the professional dancer, 30, said on Good Morning America Wednesday, November 23, of tearing up during a rehearsal earlier in the season. “It’s the new Michael Jordan meme.”
He revealed to host Robin Roberts that his devotion to Hernandez, 16, caused him to get emotional. “She’s really special, and I wanted to do a good job for her,” added the two-time DWTS winner.
Chmerkovskiy went on to explain how the gold-medal Olympic gymnast affected him throughout their time together. “I think she brings out in me what she brings out in millions of people; it’s like this youthful joy and a sense of gratitude,” he continued. “To see that in a young person is very inspiring.”
So inspiring, in fact, that the Ukraine native aimed to give young viewers the same encouragement. “I wanted to set an example to her generation that anything is possible, and stay hungry and stay humble,” Chmerkovskiy told Us after the live finale Tuesday, November 22. “And she’s a testament to that.”
After their Trio Samba beat out fellow finalists Calvin Johnson Jr. and Lindsay Arnold, James Hinchcliffe and Sharna Burgess, and Jana Kramer and Gleb Savchenko, Chmerkovskiy admitted that the trophy won’t be the only thing he takes away from this season.
“At the end of the day it’s not about the mirrorball,” he declared. “It’s about the friendships that you create, and I created a friendship with an incredible young lady that I’ll be rooting for for a very long time.”