Kristi Yamaguchi proved Maksim Chmerkovskiy wrong -- a woman can win Dancing with the Stars.
The Olympic gold medalist figure skater and her professional partner Mark Ballas were crowned Dancing with the Stars sixth-season ballroom champions during last night's live finale results show on ABC.
"I love it... This is just the icing on the cake," said Kristi after host Tom Bergeron revealed she was the sixth-season celebrity champion based on the combination of the judges' score shares for the dancers' Monday and Tuesday night performances and the share of home viewer votes cast immediately after Monday night's broadcast.
"I honestly from the bottom of my heart thank all the fans out there and everyone involved with Dancing with the Stars -- from the crew, hair and makeup -- everyone who's made this a dream experience."
Kristi became the first female celebrity to win the Dancing with the Stars title since Kelly Monaco and professional partner Alec Mazo did so during the show's initial Summer 2005 season.
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Kristi and Mark took home Dancing with the Stars' mirror ball trophy after 10 weeks of competition, defeating NFL star Jason Taylor and his professional partner Edyta Slwiniska, who finished second, and telenovela actor Cristian de la Fuente and his professional partner Cheryl Burke. Kristi and Mark had been atop the judges leader board throughout most of the competition and never found themselves in the bottom two.
In addition, Kristi is the second Olympic athlete to take home the mirror ball trophy -- following in the footsteps of speed skater Apolo Anton Ohno, who won the show's fourth-season title last spring with professional partner Julianne Hough.
The victory represents Mark's first mirror ball trophy. Last fall -- Mark's first season on the show -- he was unexpectedly eliminated from the competition with celebrity partner Sabrina Bryan, who had been considered to be one of the season's frontrunners.
"I want to say thank you to Kristi," said Mark after last night's victory. "Obviously, she's been the most amazing partner."
During Monday night's live performance episode Kristi and Mark received a 30 from the judges for both the cha-cha-cha face-off and their freestyle routine, giving them a perfect combined score of 60 out of 60 possible points.
The score easily placed them atop the judges leaderboard -- as Jason and Edyta received a 24 for the cha-cha-cha face-off and a 27 for their freestyle routine, giving them a combined judges score of 51 out of 60 and placing them in third for the night.
Kristi and Mark and Jason and Edyta also performed their favorite sixth-season routine during last night's live results show -- with their scores contributing to their final combined judges score total but not being voted on by home viewers who had already voted based on Monday night's performances.
Kristi and Mark performed their Week 6 jive routine, for which they originally received the sixth-season's first perfect 30; while Jason and Edyta performed their Week 7 quickstep, for which they originally received a 29, their highest score of the competition.
However, both couples received perfect 30 scores from the judges for last night's performances, so they had a negligible affect on the competition's ultimate outcome.
Tom then revealed the results and awarded the sixth-season mirror ball trophy to Kristi and Mark, eliminating Jason and Edyta.
"I never, ever thought I would get to this point -- I never thought I would do the show -- and here I am today in the finals," said Jason after he was revealed to be the runner-up. "Kristi is so deserving and like she said, everyone's been so fantastic... Kristi very much deserved it and I had the time of my life."
Similar to last season's finale format, the couple who received the lowest score based on a combination of the judges' scores from Monday night's two routines and home viewer votes cast immediately following the broadcast was eliminated at the beginning of last night's broadcast.
That was Cristian and Cheryl, who had found themselves in between the other two couples on the judges' leaderboard following Monday night's broadcast.
The pair had received 52 out of 60 possible points for their two routines -- a 26 for both the cha-cha-cha face-off and for their freestyle routine. However both performances were hindered by Cristian's ruptured tendon, which he suffered several weeks ago. Despite needing surgery to repair the damage, Cristian ultimately decided to remain in the competition.
"I would of never had the feeling of going to the final after an injury if it wasn't for Cheryl and staying in this competition," said a somber Cristian after his ouster was revealed. "So I'm glad we made that decision."
Last night represented the third time Cheryl had made it to the Dancing with the Stars finale -- but also the first time she waltzed away empty handed, as she captured the show's second-season title with Drew Lachey and the third-season crown with Emmitt Smith.
"She's been the best partner I could have -- a real friend," said Cristian about Cheryl. "Not only a dance partner but a support when I really needed her. That I will never forget."
"Out of all my five seasons I've been on this show, it's not about winning," added Cheryl. "It's the journey you take and I've had one of the best times with Cristian. I love you and I'll miss you and your family so much."
Cristian plans to undergo surgery to repair his ruptured tendon on Friday.