As a pop culture junkie, I like to think of myself as being fairly well-versed in the worlds of both Jersey Shore and Snooki and JWoww, but when I questioned Nicole Polizzi about how she conquered that amazing one-handed cartwheel during her Dancing With The Stars routine Monday night, I learned something about the petite powerhouse I never knew!

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“I did gymnastics for eight years so the cartwheel was easy, it was just making sure we did it at the same time, and making sure he (her pro dance partner Sasha Farber) did it,” she says. “Because sometimes I would do the cartwheel and he wouldn’t do it and that’s annoying. It was just scary. I wanted to make sure we were both doing it at the same time.”

Nicole explained she even competed for five years but gave up the sport around the age of 14.

“That’s when I was a teenager and I went crazy,” she says. “I just got bored with it.”

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But gymnast skills could definitely give Nicole an edge over some of her competition. Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman fared well last season with a little help from her strong gymnastics foundation.

On Monday Nicole and Sasha will tackle the jive, and with high praise from the judges during week three, their confidence will hopefully translate into another great performance.

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“I can push myself and I can do it,” says Nicole. “I feel like before I started this I thought I was going to complain the whole time. And I do complain a little bit, but I’m definitely pushing myself which is something I’m not used to doing.”

Catch a new episode of Dancing with the Stars on Monday, October 7, at 8/7c on ABC.

Who do you think will take home the mirror ball trophy? Tell us in the comments below or tweet @OKMagazine.

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