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HOME > Dancing with the Stars > Dancing with the Stars 8

'Dancing with the Stars' Shawn Johnson: We thought Gilles had it

By Christopher Rocchio, 05/20/2009 

Olympic gold medalist Shawn Johnson and her partner Mark Ballas claim they were surprised to win Dancing with the Stars eighth season over Sex and the City actor Gilles Marini and his partner Cheryl Burke.

"We hoped it'd be our names, but we kind of thought Gilles had it.  But we've come a long way and worked really hard," said Johnson during a Wednesday morning appearance on Live with Regis and Kelly.

Johnson and Ballas were crowned Dancing with the Stars' eighth-season ballroom champions during last night's live finale results show on ABC. Marini and Burke finished just behind Johnson and Ballas in second place, while jilted The Bachelor winner Melissa Rycroft and her partner Tony Dovolani finished third.

"It was a tight fight.  All three finalists were amazing and the performances handed in were great.  I think it could have gone either way," said Ballas on Live with Regis and Kelly.  "Shawn and I are just really grateful to the fans for voting for us and keeping us in this long.  Being in the finals is an honor itself."

Johnson -- who at 17 years old, also became Dancing with the Stars youngest champion -- is the third Olympic athlete to win the ABC ballroom dancing competition.

However she said her skills as a gymnast didn't really help her in the ballroom.

"I would say [it was] a disadvantage, just because I've had 16 years of gymnastics experience and habits behind me," she explained.  "They hurt the dancing side of it."

Ballas -- who previously won Dancing with the Stars' Spring 2008 edition with Olympic gold medalist figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi -- agreed with Johnson.

"I think in gymnastics, they're trained to be so focused and stern," he said.  "In dancing, you've got to bring out that personality.  So I kind of broken every gymnastic rule there is."

Now that her Dancing with the Stars journey has come to an end, Johnson said she plans to "take a break."

"I haven't been on vacation in eight years.  I'd love to go on a cruise or something," she said.  "But getting back into the gym... That's where I am right now."

Despite being unable to escape the gym, Johnson said she's unsure if she'll compete in the 2012 Summer Olympics.

"Don't know yet," she said.  "We're going to see if that's what I still enjoy doing.  It's just about having fun."

As for Ballas' future, he said his band the Ballas Hough Band -- which also includes Dancing with the Stars professional Derek Hough -- will be touring this summer. 

In addition, he also contradicted a recent claim by Hough that the duo "might not be back" as Dancing with the Stars' professionals for the show's upcoming ninth season due to other obligations, such as their music.

"We're going to be touring this summer.  We're actually kicking it off next week at the Indy 500.  We have a big show there," said Ballas.  "We're going to be touring, playing music all summer.  Then hopefully Season 9 if they ask me back."

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