by Alexandra Stevenson
The personable figure skater, Kevin van der Perren, unexpectedly won the fifth series of his country’s popular version of the show, “Dancing with the Stars”.
The Belgian 30-year-old, who carried his country’s flag in the 2006 and 2010 Opening Ceremonies of the Olympic Games, was thought to be a very weak contender at the beginning and was expected to be quickly eliminated from the show. But he worked exceedingly hard, and made amazing progress with his partner, a world championship ballroom dance competitor, Charissa van Dipte.
“I wish I had had this experience earlier in my skating career,” Van der Perren readily admitted. “I think it would have helped me enormously.”
In the final, the two remaining couples were tied after the Quickstep and the Paso Doble. But in the Free Style, Van der Perren and his partner surged ahead and were helped by viewer support.
Van der Perren, who married ten-time British champion Jenna McCorkell in 2008, was known as a rather wooden skater who impressed with quad jumps. He won bronze in the 2007 & 2009 European championships, but retired after placing 15th in last year’s world championship – his 11th entry in that contest. Earlier in the 2012 season, he had unexpectedly earned silver in the Skate America Grand Prix.
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