Nastia Liukin & Derek Hough Were Eliminated On 'Dancing With The Stars' — But They Should Be Proud Of Everything They Overcame

No one was more correct than Dancing With the Stars judge Len Goodman when he said, "None of these [people] deserve to go home." The four semi-finalists were all truly talented, so it was hard to say goodbye to Nastia Liukin and Derek Hough on DWTS. Especially since Hough had finally returned to the competition just one night earlier. Although the former gymnast was a hit with judges all season, in the end the viewer votes couldn't carry her through the finale. But Liukin can leave with her head held high — she overcame a lot of struggles this season and did so with excellent dance skills and a smile on her face.

Coming into the competition, Liukin was at a disadvantage. Although she was clearly talented, and paired with one of the show's best dancers, Liukin and Hough struggled to fit practice time in between her heavy NYU class schedule and Hough's stint on Broadway. Add to that a midseason injury and Liukin was suddenly forced to pair with Sasha Farber to learn how to dance with an entirely new partner while Hough healed from a foot injury.

It wasn't a smooth season for the duo, but they did their best despite it all. Throughout the compeittion they danced creative, challenging numbers with ease and grace. But even though they weren't vicortios, Liukin should be proud of her efforts on the show.

She introduced a side of herself that America has never gotten to see, and let us know she's more than just a talented gymnast: She's also a kick-butt dancer. "I'm used to being Nastia Liukin Olympic gymnast," she admitted. "And now I'm able to be just Nastia." So, Mirrorball trophy or not, to me that sounds like a pretty good reason to celebrate.

Image: Adam Taylor/ABC