updated 05/21/2014 AT 3:00 PM ET
•originally published 05/21/2014 AT 6:55 PM ET
There’s no denying that Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Olympic gold medal ice dancer Meryl Davis have chemistry on the dance floor. All season long the Dancing With the Stars duo wowed the show’s judges and viewers with one stellar performance after another.
As in-step as they are on the dance floor, it’s their off-the-dance-floor connection that has folks wondering, “Are they or aren’t they?” Or, in the case of DWTS judge Carrie Ann Inaba, who declared after the couple’s emotional and soulful freestyle routine Monday night, “I think the two of you should get married.”
That seems to be the general consensus among fans and colleagues, who experienced a gentler, kinder and more playful Chmerkovskiy this season. And humbler.
“Meryl is everything. I tried as hard as I have ever tried and she just gave me more ability,” Chmerkovskiy told PEOPLE moments after he and Davis won the season 18 mirror ball trophy Tuesday. “Had I won in the first seasons or any other season it wouldn’t have been as special as this. Meryl is the strongest person I’ve ever met.”
Davis, 27, returned the compliment, saying Chmerkovskiy “taught me so much about myself. Going through everyday life with him for the last months I’ve learned how important it is to be who you are and not apologize for it. It’s really been enlightening.”