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ranch as the largest contestant in history, imagining himself 0,000 richer and weighing half his body weight a few months later was not so easy.
Despite starting out as 526 pounds, Michael's charm, willpower and competitive nature got him to the live finale, where he won after losing a higher percentage of bodyweight (50.19 percent) than his fellow competitors Ashley Johnston and Daris George.
The contestants competed to win a 0,000 prize, which was awarded to Michael Ventrella, the finalist with the highest percentage of weight lost. After six episodes, The Biggest Loser went on hiatus and returned after the 2010 Winter Olympics on March 2, 2010. The season premiered on NBC on January 5, 2010 and tallied its best premiere rating ever, powering NBC to the adults 18-49 ratings win for that night.
Biggest Loser: Couples was up 2% from its January, 2009 premiere to a 4.6 adults 18-49 rating.
The marathon then commenced and as they were running, the contestants encountered some encouragement -- as Daris was met by second-season winner Matt Hoover, Koli was met by former seventh-season contestant Sione Fa, Ashley was met by fifth-season winner Ali Vincent, and Michael was met by seventh-season runner-up Michael Morelli.
Daris was the first to reach the finish line and he crossed it at -- shattering the marathon record previously set by seventh-season finalist Tara Costa, who did it in just under five hours.
Alison informed them that, similar to the show's last four seasons, the two contestants with the highest weight-loss percentage would automatically advance to the finale weigh-in while home viewers would get to determine which of the two contestants with the lowest weight-loss percentage would get to join them in the finale weigh-in. "It's hard to lose weight and train for a marathon.
In addition, trainer Jillian Harper traveled to Daris and Ashley's homes to help them workout, while fellow trainer Bob Harper went to the homes of Koli and Michael to help them.
Michael said he meets countless people who tell him, "Ever since I saw you run five miles on the , I've been able to walk one mile, and I can't wait to do what you just did." Michael, who is now down to 262 pounds, said that biggest lesson he learned was that in order to help other people, he needed to heal himself.
"I was always putting other people before me, [but] I couldn't really help anybody if I was sick or I was dead," he said.
Melissa was first eliminated in Week 6 when she fell below the redline.
She returned with the other eliminated contestants to try win their way back onto the ranch.