Shawn Johnson & Mark Ballas Crowned ‘Dancing’ Champs
First Published: May 20, 2009 8:09 AM EDT Credit: ABC
LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- She’s won Olympic gold and now 17-year-old Shawn Johnson is the champion of the “Dancing With the Stars” Season 8 ballroom.
In the closest vote ever in “Dancing” history, Shawn and her professional partner, Mark Ballas, edged out runner-ups Gilles Marini and Cheryl Burke, by less than one percent, show co-host Tom Bergeron revealed.
And it was a victory which elated the pint-sized celebrity contender – the youngest ever on the show.
“This has been the most amazing experience ever,” Shawn said after she learned the news. “I’ve grown so much. Thank you!”
Gilles had been a judges’ favorite, and on the final night performed an Argentine tango that left them raving.
“You’re our very special performer,” judge Carrie Ann Inaba said. “You bring such amazing artistry to your dances that completely sets you apart.”
But though the praise didn’t help him walk away with the mirror ball trophy, the sexy Frenchman had no regrets.
“I’m so happy for Shawn and Mark,” he said. “We love them so much.”
Shawn and Mark celebrated their victory, hoisting the mirror ball trophy high – the second Mark has won with an Olympic gold medalist (he previously took the top prize with Kristi Yamaguchi in Season 6).
And Tom had some advice on what the teen should do with her new trophy.
“Put it next to all those medals, my dear,” he smiled.
Melissa Rycroft, and her partner, Tony Dovolani, finished in third.
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