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The second episode of “Dancing with the Stars” featured team dances, with Johnson and Rippon on Team 1970s Football.


Johnson and Rippon make the most of a compressed practice schedule. Rippon became the third figure skater to win the coveted Mirrorball Trophy, following Kristi Yamaguchi and Meryl Davis.


Rippon: I really love working with kids, and I love skating so much. I have been a skater for 20 years of my life, and I want to keep skating to stay in shape. No matter what I do next, I want to stay on the ice at least three times a week. Even with the craziness of doing Stars on Ice and “Dancing with the Stars,” I still loved being on the ice. Just having the wind blow in my face when I was on the ice — it’s just really magical. Mirai (Nagasu) and I would talk about that a lot. It’s going to take me 20 years to have 20 years of experience in something else. Skating will always be a part of my life.


SKATING: Which brings us to you becoming a dancer. How much did you think about winning while you were competing on the show?


Rippon: Troughout the course of the competi- tion, I never thought about winning. And then I heard the words, “And the winner of ‘Danc- ing with the Stars’ is …” and I thought, “Oh [expletive].” Stars on Ice and “Dancing with the Stars” was on the tail end of the Olympics and the Olympic season, so to climb back from that and win, it was so awesome.


SKATING: How does it compare with winning in skating?


Rippon:Well, to win on the ice it took me years and years and hours and hours. “Dancing with the Stars” is so compact. It was just a few short weeks.


SKATING: You never competed against Tonya Harding on the ice. What was it like to compete against her on the dance floor?


Rippon: As a skater, we tend to think of her as the boogeyman. She was nothing but nice to me. She was funny, and she was kind. I know what hap- pened and I hope she’s learned from it. She had an opportunity to do something where she wasn’t


SKATING 25


hated, and she stepped up to the plate. At the end of the day, we were not in charge of putting people on the show.


SKATING: What was it like working with “Dancing with the Stars” professional partner Jenna Johnson?


Rippon: I loved working with Jenna. No matter what happens, I feel like I made a friend for life.


One of Rippon’s closest friends, fellow Olympic Team Event bronze medalist Mirai Nagasu, also competed on the sport stars edition of DWTS, making it all the way to the semifinals with professional dancer Alan Bersten.


PHOTO BY ALLEN BEREZOVSKY/GETTY IMAGES


PHOTO ABC/KELSEY MCNEAL


PHOTO ABC/KELSEY MCNEAL


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