'Dancing With The Stars' Winner: Hines Ward, Kym Johnson Win Season 12 Mirror Ball Trophy
LOS ANGELES — It's become a proud athletic tradition: Winning "Dancing With the Stars."
When Hines Ward took home the mirrorball trophy on the hit show Tuesday, he joined its winningest group of alumni: Athletes. Professional athletes have taken the "Dancing" title six times in the past 12 seasons.
Since the show premiered stateside in 2005, three Olympians, two football stars and one race-car driver have been named "Dancing" champs. Three other NFL stars and an Olympic skater finished the popular show in second place.
Ward, a Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver and former Super Bowl most valuable player, credits his professional dance partner, Kym Johnson, with their dance victory. He plans to keep his new mirrorball right next to his Super Bowl trophy.
"It's special," the 35-year-old said, glittery trophy in hand. "With football, it takes all 53 guys. With this mirrorball, it was just Kym and I together in the studio putting in the hours. I'm just glad I didn't let her down."
Ward consistently posted high scores throughout the 10-week competition, and judges praised his showmanship and dedication.
"We've had some great footballers on `Dancing With the Stars,' but I don't think any compare with Hines Ward," head judge Len Goodman said during the season finale.
Ward was up against Kirstie Alley and Chelsea Kane for the season 12 title. The actresses finished second and third respectively.
His commitment was especially evident after Johnson suffered a serious neck injury during rehearsals two weeks ago. The couple triumphantly returned to the dance floor, earning perfect scores for their performance and drawing tears from Ward, Johnson and judge Carrie Ann Inaba.