updated 12/14/2011 AT 8:00 AM ET
•originally published 12/14/2011 AT 8:20 AM ET
The Biggest Loser’s two-hour live finale was one to remember as trainer Dolvett Quince tried on contestant Vinny Hickerson’s retired oversized overalls, and competitor Jennifer Rumple, who won the $100,000 at-home prize, was handed a giant bouquet of flowers by her crush, trainer Bob Harper.
But the night belonged to John Rhode, who took home the title of the Biggest Loser and the grand prize of $250,000 after beating out the other top three players, Antone Davis and Ramon Medeiros.
“I still don’t know how I did it, but I’m grateful,” the season 12 winner, who began the show weighing 445 lbs. and ended at 220 lbs., told PEOPLE right after Tuesday’s live finale. “Anything is possible. I’ve been given a new life. Now I just want to keep working hard, stay focused and help people.”
But before getting back on the treadmill, Rhode said he planned to celebrate his win by “giving my wife a big hug and a kiss and holding on tight to my boys.”
“I knew John was going to win the very first day he came on the Ranch,” Harper said after the show.
“John was a very vocal, focused and straight to the point,” added trainer Anna Kournikova, who says she won’t be returning to the show, because TV “wasn’t the right fit for me.”
Smack in the middle of the age gap between the younger contestants in their 20s and the older contestants in their 60s on the Battle of the Ages season, Rhode, 41, says he hopes to stay the course as he gets older. “Age is just a number,” he says.
“John will hopefully be living his finale for the rest of his life,” said Quince.
Added Harper, “Now it’s time for the real game to begin at home.”