The Gymnast takes the gold…er…mirror ball – Shawn Johnson wins Season 8 of DWTS

0223dancinglive2  Congrats to the new champions of ABC's Dancing With The Stars, Olympic gold medal gymnast Shawn Johnson and pro dancer Mark Ballas!

Shawn had been lagging most of the season, but catapulted herself into the finals with a perfect 30 last week, and most likely secured the win with a perfect 30 on her freestyle routine on Monday.

With her win last night, Johnson, at just 17, becomes the show's youngest winner.

Runner-up Gillis Marini had been the front-runner all season long, but faltered in his freestyle, possibly costing him a few votes. The vote margin of Johnson's win was less than 1%, meaning it was an excruciatingly tight race.

Third place Melissa Rycroft also faltered in her freestyle on Monday.

This is Ballas' second win as a pro, and also his second win with an Olympian – Ballas took his season six partner, Olympic figure-skater Kristi Yamaguci, to the mirror ball also. Marini was paired with another two-time champion, Cheryl Burke, and Rycroft with pro Tony Dovoloni, who took Stacy Keibler to the finals in season two.

What I thought would be an awful season of nobodies turned into the best season yet of the venerable hit series. Now…next season, GIVE US AN EXTREME SPORTS STAR!

Dancing With The Stars will launch season nine this fall on ABC with a new, full-time two-hour Monday slot and the hour-long results show on Tuesdays.