He won silver for Team GB at the London Olympics, but tonight 23-year-old gymnast Louis Smith went one better to take top spot in the Strictly Come Dancing 2012 final, beating opponents Denise van Outen and Kimberley Walsh, after Dani Harmer was voted off following the first of a double bill of dance floor drama on BBC1.
"I can finally say I won something in the year 2012," said a self-deprecating Louis after host Bruce Forsyth announced the result.
Louis was quick to praise his partner Flavia Cacace, calling her "an absolute legend" and "the nicest person I have ever met", while she was equally complimentary in return, thanking Louis for sharing his "amazing talent and skill".
Louis had been the bookies' favourite going into the final, perhaps due to a combination of his dancing talent and popularity with the female audience. And he didn't disappoint his fans, going topless for the second performance of the evening, a slow and sensual showdance to Take That's Rule the World, which featured a daring lift and drew a perfect score of 40 from the judges.
Darcey Bussell said of the pair's performance: "You blew me away. That had grace, fluidity and was sensual. That was brave to do - such a graceful and seamless dance. Very different from anything else I've seen in a showdance."
Len Goodman added: "When you started, I thought 'it will be all gymnastics and flip flops'. [But] that lift... if this show goes on for another 20 years I don't think will see another showdance as magical as that."
Bruno Tonioli was equally impressed: "The strength of a superhero. You went from another angle; deeply effective and memorable."
And Craig Revel kept his verdict short and unusually sweet, saying: "I only have two words for that – fab-ulous."
Despite writing herself off ahead of the final, Denise van Outen performed brilliantly, and after two dances was sharing top spot in the leaderborard with Louis, both having garnered 79 of a possible 80 points from the judges.
Girls Aloud star Kimberley Walsh also outdid herself, managing a near-perfect score of 39 for her secod dance, described by Bruno Tonioli as "smoking hot and deliriously sexy."
After the final result, Kimberley said of the Strictly experience: "'It has been absolutely amazing and we have loved every minute of it and I’m so, so happy for Louis."
Kimberley and Pasha
Judges' Choice – Viennese Waltz to A Thousand Years by Christina Perri
Showdance to Crazy in Love by Beyoncé
Favourite Dance – Tango to When Doves Cry by Prince
Denise and James
Judges Choice – Jive to Tutti Frutti by Little Richard
Showdance to What a Feeling by Irene Cara
Favourite Dance – Charleston to Walk Like an Egyptian by The Puppini Sisters
Dani and Vincent
Judges Choice – Tango to Rumour Has It by Adele
Showdance to Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen
Favourite Dance – Jive to Dance With Me Tonight by Olly Murs
Louis and Flavia
Judges' Choice – Salsa to (I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes
Showdance Rule The World by Take That
Favourite Dance – Charleston to Dr Wanna Do by Caro Emerald