Who won the 8th season of Dancing with the Stars?
Olympic Gold medalist gymnast Shawn Johnson, who thrilled the world with her balance beam performance in the Beijing Olympics, can now hang a new piece of hardware on her wall. Shawn Johnson and partner Mark Ballas won the 8th season of ABC’s hit Dancing With the Stars by one of the narrowest margins of victory in the show’s history.
ABC television’s Dancing with the Stars 8th ceason gleefully celebrated a new winner Tuesday night. This season, which premiered on March 9, 2009, saw 13 couples vying for the number one spot. The competition must have been fierce, as ABC television reports the outcome of the competition had its narrowest margin ever. In a finale that was declared as the most competitive in the show’s history, Olympic gold medalist Shawn Johnson took home the mirror ball trophy.
Shawn Johnson won with less than a one percent lead in the final vote, narrowly beating out actor Gilles Marini. The finale was declared as the most competitive ever. Shawn Johnson’s professional partner in the 2009 dance competition was Mark Ballas. Actor Gilles Marini, with dance partner Cheryl Burke, took second place in the competition. Melissa Rycroft, who became famous after an appearance on the Bachelor, took third place with her dance partner Tony Dovolani.
Shawn Johnson was born in Des Moines, Iowa. She is the daughter of Doug and Teri Johnson, who were smart enough to enroll their daughter in a gymnastics class at the tender age of three after they noticed her climbing up cabinets and jumping down from tables. Wanting to channel this particularly dangerous behavior into something healthy, they figured gymnastics was the route to go. Boy, dd they have good timing — at the age of six, Shawn was among the first students of Liang Chow, who opened a gymnastics school in Des Moines. Chow’s training really paid off.
Unlike many top notch athletes even at her age, Johnson attends public school — specifically, Valley High School in Des Moines. She enteried the 2008–09 school year as a junior. Most elite gymnasts train around 40 hours a week and choose to work with private tutors rather than attend school. Shawn Johnson trains instead for just 20-25 hours a week and maintains a “normal life” in high school — where she is currently on the A Honor Roll and takes part in the regular extra-curricular activities of the average teenager. In this way, Johnson is a great role model for young athletes, who often get sucked into the world of elite sports and miss out on a “regular life”.
Anyone who’s watched the Dancing with the Stars series knows how much work the competitors must put into the show. The consistent practice and workouts and dance routines can be extremely taxing on the human body. Many contestants have left the show with injuries, and on several occasions injuries related to dancing have been highlighted on the show or made much of in the media.
In fact, Dancing with the Stars has a whole team of doctors and chiropractors working behind the scenes to keep the dancers in top condition. It was in season three, back in September of 2006, when show coordinators behind the Dancing with the Stars reality series decided they were in desperate need of a chiropractor’s help. They hired a local chiropractic service, and DWTS contestants have had access to onset chiropractic care at the filming location in Los Angeles ever since.
In that same season, Emmitt Smith (former NFL running back) won the Dancing with the Stars competition. This is a bit ironic, as Emmitt Smith has long been a vocal celebrity advocate for chiropractic care, famously advising fellow NFL player LaDainian Tomlinson of the San Diego Chargers to find a good chiropractor. Smith was even shown on TV during training for Dancing with the Stars receiving an ‘adjustment” from his chiropractor, reportedly to spread the health benefits of chiropractic practice and take away any “stigma” associated with chiropractic care.
Congratulations to Shawn Johnson and Mark Ballas. Not only is Shawn Johnson a national hero for her performance at the most recent Olympics, she is now enjoying her fifteen minutes of Dancing with the Stars fame. No one was surprised to hear that Dancing with the Stars is set for another season, the show’s ninth, on ABC. The show is incredibly popular, and is a wholesome option for family viewing at a time when television is crammed full of murder, sex, and other questionable behavior.