LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Season 18 of "Dancing With The Stars" started out with five athletes among the 12 stars. With Monday night's surprise double elimination, two of those athletes experienced the agony of defeat.
Swimming great Diana Nyad was cut from the competition first. She was eliminated early in the show, but then she and her partner, Henry Byalikov, dove right into a cha cha, just for fun. The self-professed "Dancing With The Stars" super-fan has no regrets.
"It's a grand experience. I've had a lot of high experiences in my life. I've been lucky. And this now ranks among them," said Nyad.
Byalikov has nothing but admiration for his partner.
"She's one of the most compassionate, sweet, respectful...passionate people I've ever met in my life and that's why we're going to remain friends," said Byalikov.
Sean Avery and his partner, Karina Smirnoff, were eliminated at the end of the show. They danced together, but he left all the interviews to her.
"He did an exceptional job for someone who has never danced a dance step in his life. He dove in wholeheartedly and just tried pretty much anything I asked him," said Smirnoff.
When it came to the night's dancing, we saw a three-way tie for first place with a score of 25: Charlie White and Sharna Burgess; Meryl Davis and Maksim Chmerkovskiy; and James Maslow and Peta Murgatroyd.
"I expect to get a lot out of myself and whether the best of me is going to be able to win is for the people and the judges to decide. I just want to make sure that, at the end of the day, that I did everything I can," said White.
Danica McKellar tied for fourth place with Amy Purdy; both scored 24 points. Then came Cody Simpson with 22 points.
We saw another three-way tie with 21 points for Drew Carey, Candace Cameron Bure and NeNe Leakes.
Billy Dee Williams was in last place, but was happy to survive.
"It is one of the most beautiful, most incredible moments I've ever experienced in my life," said Williams.
Next week, the 10 remaining stars will dance to the most memorable year in their lives.