She’s an Olympic gold medallist in figure skating and now Kristi Yamaguchi is “Dancing With the Stars” champion as well.
Kristi became the second celebrity female to win in the show’s history. The only previous female winner was Season One champ, actress Kelly Monaco. Kristi said she took inspiration from the “General Hospital” star in her battle to the top.
“It’s amazing [to be a female and win],” Kristi told Access Hollywood’s “Dancing” correspondent, Mel B following her win. “Kelly Monaco was a huge inspiration all year and I think all the women – you know – you can do it! You can do it.”
Kristi bested Cristian de la Fuente, who left the competition in the first hour of the broadcast taking third place, and later, football player, Jason Taylor, who came in second.
“This is like cloud nine,” Kristi enthused to Access. “My head is spinning still.”
Kristi took the title with partner Mark Ballas, the first win for the pro.
The couple scored two perfect tens on the final night of competition on Monday night and ended up as the highest scoring team ever in the history of “Dancing With the Stars,” a victory Kristi credited squarely on the shoulders of Mark.
“I think that says a lot about Mark and his challenging choreography and the way he teaches and instructs,” she said.
As for Mark, finally clinching the title was a thrill.
“I don’t have words,” the happy dancer told Mel. “My knees just dropped from underneath me when they called our [names out]. We worked so hard for this. Kristi has been so amazing to teach. I couldn’t be more proud of her and I’m on cloud nine and yet again I want to thank the fans we love you!”
During the broadcast, the entire season of celebrity dancers including Penn Jillette, Marlee Matlin and Shannon Elizabeth performed.
After the show, Shannon and her “Dancing” partner Derek Hough, who she found a showmance with during the season, said they were pleased with Kristi and Mark’s win
“I was so excited that they won,” Shannon enthused.
Derek, who previously lived with Mark’s family when he trained as a dancer was especially thrilled.
“I just want to say I love Mark,” Derek told Mel. “He is my brother, he is my man! I am so excited that he won.”
The two also took the opportunity to tackle the question of whether they are getting their own reality show.
“Actually we put something on YouTube today, not today, in about a week and it’s us dancing the fox trot and doing spoofs on ourselves,” Derek said.
Shannon apparently directed the piece.
“It’s a little fun thing,” Shannon said.