Just last week, special education teacher and football coach John Rhode warned his fellow "Biggest Loser" finalists that he wouldn't be "happy until (he was) pulling confetti out of (his) hair" at the finale. As it turned out, he had plenty to be happy about on Tuesday night.
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The 41-year-old player felt the confetti rain down after he bested former NFL player Antone Davis and tattoo artist Ramon Medeiros on the scales and claimed the $250, 000 grand prize.
John started the competition weighing in at 445 pounds, but after his time on the ranch and continued efforts at home, he dropped a total of 220 pounds and almost 50 percent of his body weight. That success came as no surprise to Bob Harper, who served as John's first trainer on the ranch and dubbed the contestant "the biggest competitor" in the Battle of the Ages game.Slideshow: 'Biggest Loser 12' before and after (on this page)
Only he didn't exactly mean that in the best way.
Weeks ago, after John switched teams to train with Dolvett Quince, Bob warned that losing weight just to win wouldn't help in the long run.
"Mark my words, he will gain everything back — every bit of it,” Bob said.
That remains to be seen, but the veteran "Loser" trainer made no further predictions of weight-related gloom and doom on finale night. He, along with Dolvett and departing trainer Anna Kournikova, applauded John's results. And as for the winner himself, he thinks someone else deserves the cheers.
"I made the most of every moment on the ranch because I knew (my wife) was at home struggling like a single parent, and with our two boys — and our youngest is autistic," an emotional John revealed. "Baby, I didn't waste a single minute on the ranch. The sacrifices I made on the ranch will never compare to what you did for me, making it so I could be there. I will owe you a debt of gratitude forever, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart."Video: ‘Biggest Loser’: Keeping weight off will be true test (on this page)
John's wife might have been the secret to his success, but of course, he wasn't the only player to succeed Tuesday night.
While John took the top honors, Antone made it to a respectable second-place finish by dropping 202 pounds, or 45.19 percent, and regaining his impressive, athletic shape.
"I can go play right now," he said of his gridiron-ready condition.
And as for Ramon, his third-place effort, 154-pound loss and new, smoking hot look (seriously, rowr!) were just part of his win.
In the midst of life on the ranch, complete with tough challenges and grueling workouts, Ramon met "the love of (his) life" in former fellow teammate Jessica Limpert. Given all of the hints he dropped during the season, it seemed a safe bet that he'd get down on one knee during the finale. And as host Alison Sweeney pointed out, " 'The Biggest Loser' has brought together more successful marriages than, you know, say, 'The Bachelor.' "
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But not this time, or more accurately, not yet. As Ramon's lucky lady explained, they plan to take it sensibly slow.
"Everything is wonderful with Ramon," she told Alison. "Not to disappoint, (but) there will not be an engagement or marriage just yet, OK? … You know, we just got ready to start our real lives, and we're going to start them together. You'll see it in the future."
But Jessica wasn't the only eliminated player to take the stage. Each of the other 11 contestants who missed out on a place in the finals returned for a shot at the $100,000 at-home prize.
Top contenders included Vinny Hickerson — or as Alison now calls him, Skinny Vinny — who went from a starting weight of 426 to just 242 in the end, and Patrick Ferrari, who managed to shed 151 pounds for a show-ending weight of 236. But it was week-six eliminee Jennifer Rumple who proved to be the biggest jaw dropper of the bunch.Story: Anna Kournikova won't return to 'Biggest Loser'
The 39-year-old kicked off the contest at 330. Now, 145 pounds lighter, Jennifer earned the at-home bragging rights and the cash.
Jennifer's success and John's victory served as more than just evidence of their personal winning ways. Each of them represented the middle-aged group in "The Battle of the Ages" and helped dash the notion that weight loss comes easier to the young — a point not lost on the 20-somethings they beat out.
Another group of contestants will soon have a chance to prove their own points. "The Biggest Loser" returns to NBC for an all-new season on Jan. 3.
Are you surprised by who took the title and at-home prize? What did you think of the season overall? Share your thoughts on the Facebook page for our TV blog, The Clicker!
Ree Hines was rooting for Antone and Ramon in the finals, but like Bob, she wasn't surprised by John's win. At least in "The Biggest Loser," almost everyone is a winner where it counts — the battle for better health.
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