Ali Is Biggest Loser‘s First Female Winner
04/16/2008 AT 12:00 AM EDT
Yes, for the first time in Biggest Loser history, a woman took home the title! Alison 'Ali' Vincent, a 32-year-old hair stylist from Mesa, Ariz., went from 234 lbs. to 122 lbs., losing 47.86 percent of her body weight. She defeated America's vote getter, Roger Shultz, 40, who came in at 199 lbs. after starting with 363 lbs. "I'm overwhelmed," an elated Vincent told PEOPLE just after her win. "I knew I could do it and I did."
After realizing that her 112-pound loss beat the 105 mark she needed to win, Vincent let out a big cheer. As confetti swirled around the stage and the audience whooped, she then embraced her mom Bette-Sue Burkland, 53, with whom she had competed during the season (Burkland went from 261 lbs. to 186 lbs.).
At the start of the finale, host Alison Sweeney introduced Roger Shultz and Mark Kruger, 35, to the audience to announce that less than 100,000 votes separated the two from being in the final three. After a pause, Sweeney proclaimed, "America picked Roger." The stunned former college football player broke into a big smile and is asked to leave the stage. Kruger's reaction to the outcome? "I can't complain about twists and turns, otherwise I wouldn't be here. There are no sour grapes," he said. With that he joined his brother Jay, 31, and entered the competition for the at-home $100,000 prize.
In one of the more drastic situations, Curtis Bray, 36, who competed with his wife Mallory, 36, and started with a weight of 381 lbs., said, "I need to be 238 lbs. to qualify for health insurance." When he stepped on the scale and realized he had lost 150 pounds for a final weight of 231 lbs., he pumped his fist and cried out, "Yes! Yes!"
But as the at-home contest wound down … an upset! Bernie Salazar, 27, a dancer for the Chicago Bulls and teacher, defeated third-runner up Kruger by one pound of weight loss and won $100,000. Salazar began the show at 283 lbs. and went on to lose 130 lbs., or 45.94 percent of his body weight.
A dramatic development not seen on TV can explain why Burkland sported a Band-Aid under her eye during the final weigh in. As video played her campus experience, she approached the scale and tripped, falling and hitting her chin on the stairs and bruising her knee. EMTs were on hand to take care of her backstage with an icepack.
Then on to the showdown! During the final weigh in, Vincent kept asking what the mark was to beat and it seemed evident she knew she had it. "It's 105 pounds?" she would say to host Alison. She needn't have worried … Ali went over the minimum goal by seven pounds. "I want to be strong and healthy and I want to look good and I want to set a good example," Vincent told PEOPLE before the telecast. "If that means that I get the privilege of being the first female Biggest Loser than I'll be jumping up with joy." And jump she did.
But she wasn't the only one rejoicing. Second-runner up Kelly Fields, 38, a registered nurse from Titusville, Fla., who started at the ranch with 271 lbs. and ended at 162, told PEOPLE after the show, "I'm over the moon. 109 lbs. -- who would have thought? I have a waist, I'm trim but I still have about 13 or 14 more pounds to lose to meet my goal. And as soon as I pay off some debt, get back to work, get my back fixed, you bet I'm trying for a baby!"
To read more about Vincent's amazing transformation, pick up the latest PEOPLE magazine, on newsstands this Friday. To read more about the contestants on the show and get tips from the trainers, go to biggestloserclub.com. -- Cynthia Wang and Amy Elisa KeithDave Bjerke/NBC