Three-time Olympic medalist ice dancer Meryl Davis and professional dance partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy celebrate after winning season 18 of “Dancing with the Stars” on May 20, 2014.
Meryl Davis became the first American to win an Olympic gold medal and a mirror ball trophy in the same year when she and partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy won Season 18 of “Dancing with the Stars” Tuesday night. Para-snowboarding bronze medalist Amy Purdy and her partner Derek Hough finished runner-up to Davis and Chmerkovskiy. Davis became the fourth U.S. Olympian to take home the mirror ball trophy, following in the footsteps of short track speedskater Apolo Ohno (Season 4), figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi (Season 6) and gymnast Shawn Johnson (Season 8).
Davis began the show exactly one month after winning the U.S.' first ice dance gold medal in Sochi, Russia, with Charlie White, who also competed on “Dancing with the Stars” this season and finished fifth with Sharna Burgess. Davis and White, along with their partners, balanced an intense 10 weeks of dancing competition while traveling the country for a 20-city Stars on Ice tour.
Davis spoke to TeamUSA.org about her dancing journey one final time in the midst of her post-DWTS media tour in New York.
How does it feel to win “Dancing with the Stars”?
It feels great. The last four months have been an amazing whirlwind and to win the Olympics and then win “Dancing with the Stars” a couple months later — what an amazing few months it’s been.
Did you think you could accomplish that much in four months?
No, I certainly never would have expected it and I feel so grateful for the amazing experiences I’ve had. To get a chance to come home with an Olympic gold medal and a mirror ball trophy, who does that?
This was Maks’ fourteenth season on the show, and possibly his last. What does it mean for you to help him win this?
We certainly developed an amazing friendship throughout the course of the show, so I think to get a chance to go on that journey with him and share in the experience last night winning the show, it was very, very special and I couldn’t have been luckier to have a more amazing partner.
Do you have your mirror ball trophy with you?
They are both in the car as we speak. And they are very heavy.
Where do you plan to keep it?
I don’t know. I’ll have to think about that.
Where do you keep your Olympic gold medal?
My gold medal is currently at my apartment in LA right now, but I’ll probably put it in a safe at my house.
What is your favorite memory from “Dancing with the Stars”?
Definitely the people I met along the way. I certainly expected to enjoy the season, and I expected to learn a lot about dance and enjoy the television show experience. I met such amazing people, whether it was Maks or the other dancers on the show, who I truly feel like I learned a lot from as people. I’m truly grateful for that part of the experience as well.
Which cast members do you think you’ll stay in touch with?
So many of them. I think that’s part of what makes the experience so cool. The cast as a whole was so amazing. Getting to know so many of the dancers and getting to know so many other personalities was so cool for me that I think I’m definitely coming away from the show with a lot of friends.
Have you surprised yourself with the heights you were able to achieve in ballroom dance?
Absolutely. I really wasn’t sure what to expect with my skills on the floor, but I definitely was proud. It didn’t come easily, so to be able to look back at some of the videos from the show and see where the work went, I definitely think I can be proud of the product.
Which dance was your favorite?
Some of my favorite dances were the freestyle, our tango, our foxtrot and our rumba.
Are there any dances you didn’t get to learn that you wish you had?
I was so pleased with the whole season that I wouldn’t have changed anything.
Your freestyle seemed to sum up your journey with Maks. What was the thought behind that dance?
I think the journey we had gone on up to that point played a really big part in the approach we wanted to take to that dance in particular. I think it’s very fitting you get a chance to do a freestyle without any real restrictions at the end of the season, after you’ve developed some sort of approach that you feel is right for that team specifically. For us, we definitely drew from the journey that we had been on and what it was we felt like we wanted to do with our time on the floor.
What do you think about Amy Purdy’s accomplishments on the show?
Amy is nothing short of an inspiration. She came on to the show already having a challenge above what anybody else can possibly have. I think she has already overcome so many challenges in her life with a smile and a positive attitude that she should be a role model and an inspiration for everyone. I think, at least for me, she surpassed any sort of expectations I could have had for her dance ability. She really was able to dance and it was incredible to watch. I certainly was very impressed and I think she should be incredibly proud of her journey and result.
A two-week vacation in Hawaii!
What is the final message you would like to say to your fans?
A big thank you! Maks and I certainly felt so much support throughout this season on the show and I know returning back to the U.S. post Olympics was incredibly special. I'm so appreciative.