Tonya Harding lost ‘Dancing with the Stars’ — and a lot of weight
Notorious Tonya Harding lost to Adam Rippon in the “Dancing with the Stars” finale on Monday night.
But she had a lot to celebrate backstage, as she says that America has been rooting for her — and she’s lost weight while dancing!
The ice skater known for the bizarre Nancy Kerrigan incident in 1994 couldn’t glide past fellow figure skater Rippon, even after he was dissed by one of the judges.
Football player Josh Norman also lost to Rippon in the final contest in the four-week “DWTS: Athletes” edition.
Harding, 47, threw down a high-energy freestyle performance to the song “I Will Survive” with partner Sasha Farber that thrilled the audience and had judges Carrie Ann Inaba, Len Goodman and Bruno Tonioli raving.
She did several cartwheels in the difficult dance and was triumphant afterwards, raising her arms and clapping. Harding earned a perfect score of 30 for the dance. Earlier, she had garnered 26 points for her first dance of the night, a Viennese Waltz.
Backstage after Rippon was declared the winner, an emotional Harding told reporters, “I found myself again knowing that I can achieve such greatness doing something that I love to do. You don’t ever give up on yourself. I always keep going no matter what it is.”
When asked how much weight she’d lost while doing the show, Harding said, “I don’t think that’s anybody’s business,” but added, “You can tell that I’ve lost a lot.”
“DWTS” is strenuous and Harding noted about her freestyle dance, which included back up dancers who threw her around, “It felt like I was being tossed like a salad, but it was amazing.”
The controversial figure skater told Fox News she wasn’t disappointed about not winning, saying, “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.
“I’m going to go home and relax, and have a glass of wine,” she laughed.
There’s a possibility Harding could do “DWTS” again if the show ever does another “All-Stars” edition.
Harding said her husband, Joseph Price, and their young son Gordon were in the crowd watching, along with her former figure skating choreographer from the explosive 1994 Olympics, Erica Bakacas.
Her boy “said I was beautiful, he was proud of me, and he said, ‘I’m sorry, mommy, that you didn’t win.’ I told him that that’s okay. The best part is the journey.”
Partner Farber couldn’t have been more proud of Harding’s memorable freestyle, telling reporters that she “came out guns blazing.”
Harding said, “Of course, we feel like winners. We got all tens. You can’t get any better than that!”
When asked if she’d do another reality show, Harding said, “I am open to offers.”
Meanwhile, Rippon, who beat both Harding and Norman, told Fox News he felt “so good. It’s been so much fun.”
Rippon and partner Jenna Johnson, who performed an old-Hollywood style jazz dance and then an avant-garde freestyle in which he wore an Asian costume and a black, bowl-cut wig, got the highest cumulative score of the night, 58 out of 60.
But Rippon looked shocked when judge Inaba told him about the freestyle, “I feel I was missing something.”
He earned 28 out of 30 for the freestyle while rivals Harding and football star Norman both scored perfect 30s for theirs. However, Rippon had looked like the front runner all season and wound up walking away with the coveted mirror ball trophy.
Rippon admitted hearing Inaba’s harsh critique “was definitely scary and I think the whole time that we’ve been in the competition we weren’t focused on winning, but it’s the last dance of the competition and you obviously want to come away the champion and I think Jenna and I knew that we were going to take a risk.
“But no matter what the comments, I think it was worth the risk. We wanted to do something different, something that hasn’t been on the show before, something a little quirky…and I could wear a bowl cut, what’s better than that?
His partner Johnson said of her boyfriend, fellow “DWTS” dancer Val Chmerkovskiy, who sat out this season, “Val and I kissed a lot,” after the win. “I haven’t been able to speak to him at all as it happened so fast but I know he’s very proud of both of us. I’m so happy he was here tonight.”
Rippon, who delighted Winter Olympics viewers, is pondering his next career move and said he would consider doing Broadway: “Why not? I did ‘Dancing with the Stars’ and I never thought I would do that!”
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