GYMNAST Louis Smith was celebrating today after being crowned champion of Strictly Come Dancing.
The Olympic silver medallist came top of the public vote last night after stripping down to a pair of skin-tight leggings for a showdance with professional partner Flavia Cacace.
The 23-year-old delivered a spectacular routine to pick up the glitterball trophy ahead of Girls Aloud star Kimberley Walsh and actresses Denise van Outen and Dani Harmer.
When asked how the victory compared to the London Olympics, he replied: “They are both very different, but I can finally say I’ve won something in the year 2012.”
He earned a quartet of 10s from the judges after lifting his partner high above his head and performing a handstand on top of a giant globe.
Judge Darcey Bussell told him: “You blew me away. That had grace, it had fluidity. It was sensual as well.”
Len Goodman said: “If this show goes on for another 20 years I don’t think we’ll ever see a showdance that was as magical as that.”
Smith received praise from all four judges, with Bruno Tonioli saying he had the “strength of a superhuman” while Craig Revel Horwood described it as “fabulous and amazing”.
Immediately after the show, Smith said he was smiling so much his cheeks were “starting to shake”.
He described the win as “just mad”, and put the pair’s victory down to being “a partnership”.
Smith said he had the perfect home for his newest trophy - as a centrepiece in his new home.
He said: “I have just got a house being built with a nice fireplace, and I’m hoping it is going to go right at the top, right in the middle.”
Cacace said the competition had been extremely tough this year, saying: “The level this year, anybody could have won it. That final was incredible. It is just thanks to the public - I can’t thank everyone enough.”
Speaking about her first time winning the glitterball trophy, she said: “It has been incredible. To win it on a year where the level is so high, is so much more satisfying.
“But it is thanks to Louis, his ability his skill his talent. He so deserves it.”
Harmer was first to be eliminated after each finalist performed two dances. The remaining pairs then performed their favourite dance from the series, before Smith was revealed as the winner.
Van Outen and her partner James Jordan came top of the judges’ leaderboard on the night, scoring 119 out of a possible 120 in their three dances.
But they lacked the support of the viewers which was the only factor in deciding the winner.
After the result was announced, van Outen said: “I’ll miss James so much, you’ve made me laugh every day.”
Walsh added: “It’s been absolutely amazing. We’ve loved every minute of it. I’m so happy for Louis.”
The judges chose the contestants’ opening dance, and Smith was asked to repeat his Dirty Dancing Salsa from week three.
After a stunning display, Goodman told him: “I gave you a six last time Louis, you were like a budgie. Tonight you were like an eagle.”
The second display was the showdance, before Smith and Cacace chose to sign off with their Charleston from week nine.
Revel Horwood said it was “an uplifting tonic to really finish off this incredible night”.
Another of the stars of this year’s series has been Bussell, who has confirmed she will return as a judge next year.
The former ballet dancer has signed up for a further series after proving popular as the replacement for Alesha Dixon, who quit earlier this year.
This year’s series has been a triumph for the BBC, regularly beating its ITV rival The X Factor in the ratings - at one stage taking a lead of two million viewers.