Adam Taylor/ ABC
Patrick Gomez
November 25, 2015 AT 05:54 PM EST

This article originally appeared on PEOPLE.COM.

Bindi Irwin was surrounded by friends and family after winning season 21 of Dancing With the Stars, but there was one person missing that she wished had been there – her father. 

“I couldn’t even imagine if [he] was here right now,” the young conservationist told reporters of the late Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin. “Honestly, I hope that he’d be proud of me. And I hope that I am able to carry-on in his footsteps and make sure that his legacy lives on.”

The 17-year-old found multiple ways to honor her father throughout the season, but she wants to make sure that continues now that she’s done with her DWTS journey. 

“His strength is what keeps me going,” she said. “Life is filled with so many challenges and beautiful moments and to be able to share them with my family and the ones that you love the most. That’s what’s most important.”

Dancing with the Stars will return for season 22 (with head judge Len Goodman!) on March 21, 2016.

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