Deaf model Nyle DiMarco is the winner of ‘Dancing with the Stars’ season 22 with pro partner, Peta Murgatroyd! The former ‘America’s Next Top Model’ winner makes history as the first deaf person ever to win the reality TV show competition.
Yes, it’s an historic first. The 26-year-old Nyle DiMarco has been a fan favorite and a frontrunner from week one. Now it’s official! He’s conquered not one, but two reality TV shows, having originally risen to fame as the winner in the final season of ANTM, and going on to pursue his career in modeling.
He made his debut performance on DWTS with a Cha-Cha that was nothing less than a stunner, as the video instantly went viral, and week after week he consistently put in solid and noteworthy dance performances
On finale week he competed against two other couples; ABC meteorologist Ginger Zee and Val Chmerkovskiy as well as MMA fighter Paige VanZant and Mark Ballas. Once again, he delivered solid performances, winning straight 9s from the panel of judges for the quickstep.
But that was eclipsed by his freestyle which won straight 10s, a perfect score from all of the judges. While we the audience were duly impressed, so too were the judges. In fact, Carrie Ann Inaba said, “In 22 seasons, that is the best dance I have ever seen.” Praise can’t get much higher than that!
Then going a step further, she brought him to tears when she told him, in sign language, “Thank you for showing us your beautiful heart when you dance” in sign language.”
And in the final moments, he was announced the winner, with Paige VanZant and Mark Ballas, in second place and Ginger Zee and Val Chmerkovskiy in third place.
DiMarco posted a photo of himself and pro partner, Peta Murgatroyd kissing the mirror ball trophy, which you can see below, with an exuberant caption, “I CANT BELIEVE IT! WE WON! WE WON THE MIRROR BALL!!! This is for 70 million Deaf people in the world!” And in another pic, he had words of praise and gratitude for his partner, saying in part, “Thank you for helping me tell my story through dancing: What it really means to be Deaf. Thank you for inspiring millions of [Deaf] lives with me.”
He echoed comments he has made all along the way. In an interview on GMA several week ago, DiMarco, who comes from a family of four generations of deafness, spoke of his pride over representing the deaf community. Via an interpreter he said, “To actually represent them is an honor for me.”
And in a backstage interview with US Weekly, he said of his victory, “It means that barriers can be broken.” Elaborating, he added, “Even though there are barriers there, it doesn’t mean that they can’t be broken. You’ve just got to work twice as hard and set your goals and break those barriers. Opportunities are endless.”
He has shown the world just that, and given us a season of dances that are inspiring as they are uplifting. The message is clear; never let any preconceived notions of obstacles stop you.
You can see photos and video below as Nyle DiMarco is crowned DWTS champion and receives the mirror ball trophy plus video of the remarkable dance performances in finals week!
Pictures: PR Photos