Cheryl Burke and Maurice Greene
He may not have made it to the Dancing with the Stars finish line, but Olympian Maurice Greene — once known as the fastest man in the world — got huge props Tuesday night from his pro partner, Cheryl Burke. "He's the hardest working partner I've ever had," she says.
Just in case you've forgotten, Burke's list of ex-partners is formidable, including two Dancing with the Stars champions: Drew Lachey and Emmitt Smith. Burke also trained last season's Cristian de la Fuente, who competed toward the end of the competition with a ruptured tendon in his left bicep. So for her to say that Greene tops that stellar list of hard-working, competitive celebrities is an enormous compliment.
"We did 8 to 10 hours of practice every single day," says Burke. "He was in a lot of pain [after hyperextending his knee during Week 7 practicing with Team Paso Doble]. But he just kept going. No complaining, nothing. He put in the same amount of hours. He wanted it more than anyone I've ever danced with."
Greene, 34, was upbeat after his elimination, even though he's said from the beginning that he wanted the mirrorball trophy to go right between his two Olympic gold medals. "This was a lot harder than the Olympics," he says. "That was easy."
And as for Hannah Montana star Cody Linley, who was saved by Greene's exit, the relief was written all over his face. "He looked so relieved," says his substitute pro, Edyta Sliwinska. "And I was so relieved tonight too. My job is done."
Sliwinska says that the last two weeks have been extraordinarily stressful for her, trying to keep Linley in the game while Julianne Hough recovered from surgery to remove her appendix and scar tissue from endometriosis. Adding to the pressure was the special taped segment that aired Tuesday night on the kinetics of ballroom dancers. Sliwinska and her husband, pro Alec Mazo, contributed heavily to the piece. "That was so stressful because it came during the week that I was trying to practice with Cody, and we didn't have enough time as it was."
But the votes are in, and the final four are in place: Brooke Burke, Warren Sapp, Lance Bass and Linley. Burke's partner, Derek Hough, says he spoke to his sister, two-time champ Julianne, about the way it should play out. "I said, 'Sis, do a good job, but don't do too good of a job. You've got two trophies.'"
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