Maksim Chmerkovskiy was introduced to the world of ballroom dancing at an early age when his parents brought him to a local ballroom dance school in Odessa, Ukraine. He quickly excelled in ballroom dance and the school became his home away from home. As a teenager, he suffered a horrible skiing accident that nearly ripped his leg off, leaving him hospitalized for months. After many surgeries and the insertion of a 12" metal rod, doctors were skeptical that Chmerkovskiy would ever walk without a limp, let alone dance. After completing months of physical therapy, he was back on his own two feet walking, running, and dancing. Soon after, he established himself as the top dancer in Ukraine. In 1994, the entire Chmerkovskiy family moved to Brooklyn, NY in order to start a new life and to give Maks and Val (Maks' brother) a better atmosphere to grow and succeed in. The vision of the American Dream and his passion for ballroom dancing gave Chmerkovskiy the strength to fight through all of the obstacles that faced him and his family. He worked countless hours on his dancing and soon emerged as one of the best dancers in the world.