Seattle's two-time Olympic gold medalist Apolo Anton Ohno earned a new title Tuesday: "Dancing With the Stars" champion. The speed skater and...
LOS ANGELES — Seattle’s two-time Olympic gold medalist Apolo Anton Ohno earned a new title Tuesday: “Dancing With the Stars” champion.
The speed skater and his partner, Julianne Hough, beat out former ‘N Sync star Joey Fatone to win the ABC dance-off’s mirror-ball trophy. Boxer Laila Ali, a third finalist, was eliminated in the middle of Tuesday’s two-hour finale.
“I feel amazing,” the ebullient Ohno said. “You put your mind to something, you give 100 percent, sacrifice and dedication, anything is possible.”
Ohno, 25, became a technical master during the season, training in the dance studio as he would on the ice.
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“Apolo’s competitiveness is almost on the verge of insanity,” his coach, John Schaeffer, said on Tuesday’s show.
Ohno was last in Seattle in late April, when he was inducted into the local Asian Hall of Fame. At that time he said he hadn’t realized how much of a commitment “Dancing With the Stars” would require.
Since early March, he’s spent two to three hours a day training for the 2010 Winter Olympics, and an additional four to six hours practicing his dance routines.
None of the show’s contestants are expert dancers. Each becomes the student and performing partner of a professional dancer throughout the 10-week season. Three judges rate each couple’s ballroom- and Latin-dance skills while viewers weigh in by phone and Internet. The combined tallies determine which couple is eliminated each week.
Ohno was the first of the finalists to earn a perfect score during the competition, collecting 30 points for his samba in April. Fatone and Ali each earned perfect scores since.
Times staff reporter Florangela Davila contributed to this report.