WASHINGTON, November 24, 2015 – When The Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin died, leaving behind his wife and children, fans around the world mourned the senseless accident that killed a person most people admired, or at least enjoyed watching.
We also got to meet his composed beyond her years daughter, Bindi who quickly picked up the mantle her father left, continuing his work as a conservationist and growing up to be a remarkable young woman whom has been reintroduced to the world via her partnership with premier choreographer Derek Hough on Dancing With The Stars.
What we did not know is that Bindi, who is only 17 which is remarkable in and of itself, would share the process of her deep, ongoing mourning for her father through the joy and artistry of dance. She took us all by surprise. And tonight, despite our wanting to see Sharna get that Mirror Ball, or Nick Carter finish this season of baby news and personal growth on a high note, or Alek Skarlatos, the reluctant – and way too cute – hero that has become a part of our national story and hearts – win, we will be cheering for Bindi to take that Mirror Ball trophy back to Australia – though we hope she finds the time to come back to the U.S. because she is now our Bindi as well.
But don’t take a moment away from her fellow competitors. It was an amazing season and those that have made these last few shows, have all worked hard and deserve the accolades that come with finishing this grueling contest.
Bindi Irwin has paid tribute to her famous father throughout the season and while, like all contestants she took a personal journey, learning to take risks, trust and love a virtually unknown partner, and stress herself above and beyond what one would think one could possibly do, she also shared that other very personal story – the story of the hole that her father’s death left in her life, and the life of her mother and brother.
On Monday night’s finale, she had the audience in tears. Irwin and her partner, Derek Hough, danced to Leona Lewis’ “Footprints in the Sand.” The young star dedicated her performance to her father, the late Steve Irwin. Dance partner Derek Hough surprised her with a large photo of the star, as a very young elfin child, embraced by her father.
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