Tonya Harding didn’t win the Mirrorball grand prize on the Season 26 finale of ABC’s Dancing with the Stars on Monday night, but the former figure skater still felt victorious after making it to the final round and getting whipped into the best shape of her life.
After performing a high-energy freestyle dance to “I Will Survive” filled with cartwheels, twists, turns and backup dancers throwing her up in the air “like a tossed salad,” Harding told the press that she was just happy to have made it to the end of the competition and shed a few pounds along the way.
“Just making it this far is very exciting and who knows? Now I know how to dance a little bit so maybe I get to come back sometime,” she said. Although she wouldn’t reveal exactly how much weight she lost, telling them that she doesn’t “think that’s anybody’s business,” Harding assured reporters that she slimmed down. “You can tell that I’ve lost a lot,” she said.
What the 47-year-old may have been most pleased by, though, was getting the chance to prove she was capable of a comeback. “I found myself again knowing that I can achieve such greatness doing something that I love to do,” she said. “You don’t ever give up on yourself. I always keep going no matter what it is.”
Despite having the favor of the judges, Harding’s appearance on DWTS didn’t come without its fair share of backlash. Some viewers expressed their disdain for ABC featuring the disgraced ice skater on the show following her early ‘90s scandal that resulted in her banishment from the U.S. Figure Skating Association.
Even Adam Rippon, an Olympic skater who ended up claiming DWTS’ famed Mirrorball, told USA Today he was keeping his distance from Harding, who fell from figure skating glory in 1994 after it was discovered Harding’s ex-husband and his associates conspired and carried out an attack against fellow skater Nancy Kerrigan. In the weeks leading up to the ’94 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, Kerrigan was clubbed in the knee during a practice skate.
Although she didn’t win the competition, Harding said she felt like a winner: “We got all tens. You can’t get any better than that.”
Harding’s freestyle landed her a perfect score of 30 while her dance with partner Sasha Farber earlier in the night, a Viennese Waltz, won her a score of 26.
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