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JR Martinez boogies his way to victory on 'Dancing With The Stars'

23 NOVEMBER 2011

An Iraq war veteran, who has had 33 operations, has triumphed on the US version of Strictly Come Dancing

Viewers of Dancing With The Stars were moved by JR Martinez' inspirational story and fancy work.

Now an actor, JR – full name Jose Rene – hoisted aloft the mirrorball trophy with his professional partner Karina Smirnoff, after being crowned champion of the 13th edition of ABC television's hit show.



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In 2003, JR, sustained severe burns to 40 percent of his body when the armoured vehicle he was driving went over a landmine.

After a three-year recovery process, he became a motivational speaker and won a role on US daytime drama All My Children.

During the dance finale, the 28-year-old former serviceman boogied past Rob Kardashian to win.

The all-male showdown was set up halfway through the final show when talk show host Ricki Lake was voted off, finishing third.

The judges didn't provide much extra guidance during the final competition, their last dance was a samba that the competitors had to perform with little preparation time.

 

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Len Goodman, Bruno Tonioli and Carrie Ann Inaba gave both teams perfect 30 scores for their final dances.

"For one of you, that was your victory dance, but I think both of you are winners," judge Carrie Ann said.

"That was a great way to end this season."

JR came into Tuesday's episode tied with Ricki for second place.

He reprised his jive routine from week two, and though he made a few mistakes, Len said, "You've got such a sparkling personality, you just light up this room."

 

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His victory brings his partner Karina her first mirrorball in 10 seasons. 

"He is my mirrorball trophy", Karina also acknowledged that they really wanted to win, saying it would be "a perfect ending to a perfect story".

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