J.R. Martinez Wins Dancing with the Stars

K. Mathews on 22 Nov 2011 at 11:00pm

He did it! J.R. Martinez edged out fellow finalists Rob Kardashian (brother of you know who) and talk show host Ricki Lake to become the champion of Dancing with the Stars. We profiled Martinez, a soap star and soldier who underwent significant reconstructive surgery after being injured in the line of duty, before the season began, and are pleased to see that he tangoed, waltzed, and sambaed his way to victory.

Although Martinez was arguably the contestant with the least name recognition, he fast became a fan favorite thanks to his charisma, war veteran status, and his heroism in the face of adversity.

Rest assured, his success is not just the result of a sympathy vote: Martinez was also one of the most talented dancers on the floor, earning the top score from the judges six times throughout the season. He learned this fancy footwork from his dance pro partner Karina Smirnoff, who finally earned her first mirror-ball trophy in her tenth season with the show.

Participating on the show has raised Martinez’s celebrity status and, consequently, his ability to share his inspirational story. Now the same guy who told Jay Leno that he once thought he’d never be able to have a girlfriend has been named one of People Magazine’s Sexiest Men Alive.

In several weeks, Martinez will also serve as the Grand Marshal of the Rose Bowl parade. Even after 33 reconstructive surgeries, he demonstrates that hard work and a positive attitude can take you anywhere.

Photo credit: abc.go.com