Tonya Harding Says She's Getting Respect on 'DWTS' That She 'Didn't Get' at Olympics (Exclusive)

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Tonya Harding is ready to shed her underdog image after making the cut for the Dancing With the Stars: Athletes finale.

"I truly love America. I love Americans," the 47-year-old former ice skater told ET's Cameron Mathison of the viewers who voted her through to the final round on Monday night. "I mean we all want to see the underdog come up and do great. I think that America really sees me as the true person and, you know, a person who has a heart, a person who has a soul, and maybe, you know, who's been through enough and is giving me another chance and I just want to thank you so much." 

Harding's partner, Sasha Farber, was quick to praise her work ethic and determination.

"I mean, I keep telling her everyday she's on the right track. She's on the right track," he gushed. "I'm so proud of her. She's in the finale. All I remember is when we first met [what] was coming straight out of her mouth was, 'I really hope I make that final, it's like a dream come true.'"

The 34-year-old DWTS pro continued: "Dreams do come true. Keep pushing and its gonna be reality. And win or lose it doesn't matter. The journey to get here has been truly amazing."

For Harding, DWTS has been a chance to show America her true self. 

"This is truly amazing. This is like being treated with respect that I didn't get when I went to the Olympics," Harding said. "Everyone thinking that I was horrible and now everyone realizing that I'm just a normal person and that I go through a lot of things that other people have to go through. And people can relate to that. Don't give up. Go for your dreams. Go for everything."

Harding will be going up against fellow ice skater Adam Rippon and pro football player Josh Norman on the finale, airing May 21 on ABC. Here's a look back at one Harding's most emotional moments on the show:

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