Ricky Martin crowned Apprentice winner

Ricky Martin has won the 2012 series of The Apprentice, becoming Lord Sugar’s latest business partner after a closely-fought final.

The 27-year-old recruitment manager and former wrestler from Hampshire beat fellow finalists Jade Nash, Nick Holzherr and Tom Gearing following a series of gruelling interviews in which he and his fellow contestants had to present their business plans.

And while Tom came close to victory with his plans for a business in the wine industry, it was Ricky who triumphed with his proposal for a recruitment agency specialising in science and technology.

Afterwards he said, “Lord Sugar and I are going to be a powerful force to be reckoned with. I can’t say I’ve digested it yet.

“I’m ecstatic,” Ricky added. “Tom is incredible at what he does, great competition but I believed in myself, I thought I always had it in me and I proved it.

Nick Holzherr finished in third place with his idea for an online grocery and recipe service, while Jade’s idea for a telemarketing agency saw her land in fourth place.

Ricky’s win came despite an interview which saw him branded “an arrogant fool” for a personal statement in which he likened himself to the thunder god Thor.

“There were so many things in there that just made me want to be sick,” entrepreneur Matthew Riley told him during the interview, while Claude Littner told him, “Some of the statements you’ve made are completely ludicrous.”

However Claude was forced to admit that he liked Ricky’s business plan. “It was interesting, well written and you’ve done very well in your career,” he said.

Karren Brady also praised Ricky, saying he was the contestant who had “changed and improved most throughout the process”.

Ricky revealed afterwards that now he had succeeded in winning the show he would be hanging up his wrestling gear for good.

I’ve now retired from the ring. I’m hanging up my boots and my Lycra and that’s it now for me,” he said.

“I’ve always wanted to be my own business owner and I knew I’d be successful in business. So for me to be successful in a brand new business, I don’t have time to wrestle.”

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