The Apprentice 2012 winner: Ricky Martin wins 250k business partnership with Lord Sugar

Former professional wrestler and self-professed 'demigod' Ricky Martin wins The Apprentice 2012

|

UPDATED:

08:29 GMT, 4 June 2012

His past as a professional wrestler, his showbiz name and his profession to be the 'reflection of perfection' had contestant Ricky Martin widely ridiculed before this season of The Apprentice had even begun.

But the 26-year-old recruitment manager has beaten the odds to be named this year's winner and land the prestigious prize of a business partnership with Lord Alan Sugar, along with an investment of up to 250,000.

In Sunday night's final, Martin beat 23-year-old wine investor Tom Gearing, who was named runner-up, 29-year-old business development manager Jade Nash and 25-year-old technology entrepreneur Nick Holzherr.

You're hired! Ricky Martin has been named as the winner of The Apprentice 2012

You're hired! Ricky Martin has been named as the winner of The Apprentice 2012

You're hired! Ricky Martin has been named as the winner of The Apprentice 2012

After winning, Ricky proclaimed: 'Lord Sugar and I are
going to be a powerful force to reckon with. I can’t say I’ve digested
it yet.

'I’m ecstatic. Genuine shock, I’m so so pleased. Tom is
incredible at what he does, great competition but I believed in myself, I
thought I always I had it in me and I proved it.'

Despite receiving a battering from Lord Sugar's business associates during an intense round of interviews – particularly over his 'arrogant and foolish' personal statement which saw him liken himself to demigod Thor – he impressed with his business plan for a recruitment agency specialising in science and technology.

Ready to work: Martin, 26, successfully pitched a recruitment agency specialising in science and technology to Lord Sugar

Ready to work: Martin, 26, successfully pitched a recruitment agency specialising in science and technology to Lord Sugar

Interesting hobby: Ricky (pictured in 2010) enjoys professional wrestling in his spare time

Interesting hobby: Ricky (pictured in 2010) enjoys professional wrestling in his spare time

Ruthless troubleshooter Claude Littner,
pioneer of Britain's free magazine business Mike Soutar, chief executive
with a business worth over 300m and former Young Entrepreneur of the
Year Matthew Riley as well as patron of the Bright Ideas Trust and
eyebrow raising confidant Margaret Mountford grilled the four finalists in a heated final episode.

Ricky
endured some rigorous questioning, including Mike Soutar challenging
his reasons for going by the name ‘Ricky Martin’ (the contestant, real
name Richard, answered that the Latino singer's name helped people
remember him).

Claude Littner
labelled his personal statement ‘crass, obnoxious, and infantile.’
However, on Ricky’s business plan, Claude commented 'I was quite impressed. It was interesting, well
written and you’ve done very well in your career.'

The final four: Ricky beat Tom Gearing (2nd left), who was named runner-up, Jade Nash and Nick Holzherr (right)

The final four: Ricky beat Tom Gearing (2nd left), who was named runner-up, Jade Nash and Nick Holzherr (right)

Gripping: Lord Sugar deliberated between the final two contestants, Ricky and Tom Gearing

Gripping: Lord Sugar deliberated between the final two contestants, Ricky and Tom Gearing

Ricky was forced to apologise for his personal statement, admitting he regretted calling Lord Sugar an 'old dog' that he could teach 'new tricks.'

'When I turned up to this process, I
had a lot of bravado about me,' he said. 'I was happy to sit there and say these
bold statements to get myself noticed and to get myself heard.

'I'll be honest to say that throughout this process I've realised a lot about myself and I'm a very different person now – I should shut my trap a lot more.'

Safe choice: Lord Sugar said he was trying to decide between Tom's 'risky but exciting' venture of sticking to 'safe and simple' Ricky's plan

Safe
choice: Lord Sugar said he was trying to decide between Tom's 'risky
but exciting' venture of sticking to 'safe and simple' Ricky's plan

'Lord Sugar and I are going to be a powerful force to reckon with': Ricky reacts with glee as he is named the winner

'Lord Sugar and I are going to be a powerful force to reckon with': Ricky reacts with glee as he is named the winner

'Lord Sugar and I are going to be a powerful force to reckon with': Ricky reacts with glee as he is named the winner

During their meeting with Lord Sugar, Claude was full of praise for Ricky, despite calling his personal statement 'ludicrous,' saying he was 'mesmerised' by him.

Lord Sugar was rather more forgiving of Ricky's arrogant pitch, musing: 'Is
it, that in this day and age that someone has to come out with a lot of
b********'

'He is the one who has changed and improved the most throughout the process,' Karren Brady said.

Throughout the 12-week competition, Ricky project managed three tasks and survived four spells in the boardroom.

'If I was going to lose to anyone I was happy it was Ricky': Runner-up Tom congratulates Ricky

'If I was going to lose to anyone I was happy it was Ricky': Runner-up Tom congratulates Ricky

Grilling: The four finalists faced Lord Sugar's ruthless business associates Claude Littner, Mike Soutar, Matthew Riley and Margaret Mountford

Grilling: The four finalists faced Lord Sugar's ruthless business associates Claude Littner, Mike Soutar, Matthew Riley and Margaret Mountford

Jade Nash admitted was 'slaughtered'
in her interviews where her business plan is ridiculed and branded 'a
pretty grubby little business'. She is also left shame-faced when her N
grade in business A-level is exposed.

'I need a drink,' said Jade after her grilling by Claude Littner.

Holzherr's internet scheme was branded 'irrelevant' by all of the
business associates, who also found fault with his tendency to harp on
about his 'unusual' upbringing – in Switzerland.

Of Nick's online grocery recipe software, Lord Sugar simply asked 'Why'

'It made me feel sick': Claude Littner called Ricky's personal statement crass, obnoxious, and infantile

'It made me feel sick': Claude Littner called Ricky's personal statement crass, obnoxious, and infantile

'It made me feel sick': Claude Littner called Ricky's personal statement ‘crass, obnoxious, and infantile’… but later added that he was 'mesmerised' by the contestant

Gearing was branded a 'daddy's boy'
when his father, who is a director of his fine wine investment company,
writes a glowing recommendation.

After Jade and Nick are eliminated, Lord sugar is faced with choosing between Ricky and Tom.

He
tells Tom: 'With my position in society, I don't think I can afford to
be associated with a business that goes very very wrong. And I think
yours could be a calamity.'

'I can understand how your business could work,' he told Ricky.

'Why': Nick's online recipe finder business was widely unpopular amongst the interviewers, most questioning who would have the time or inclination to use it

'Why': Nick's online recipe finder business was widely unpopular amongst the interviewers, most questioning who would have the time or inclination to use it

Ruthless: 'I need a drink,' said Jade after her grilling by Claude Littner

Ruthless: 'I need a drink,' said Jade after her grilling by Claude Littner

With Tom and Ricky waiting outside, Nick Hewer seemed in favour of Tom , asking Lord Sugar: 'Do you want to be part of a pedestrian recruitment business, or do you want a last hurrah'

But Karren cautioned, 'Don't rule out Ricky because he's safe.'

In the nail-biting final boardroom scene, Lord Sugar deliberated between Tom's risky but 'exciting' venture and Ricky's almost fool-proof business model in his already-proven area of expertise.

Tom relied on his proven ability to start up a new business, which he said should be valued over Ricky's expertise in his field.

Challenging: Mike Soutar and Matthew Riley put the finalists through their paces

Challenging: Mike Soutar and Matthew Riley put the finalists through their paces

Challenging: Mike Soutar and Matthew Riley put the finalists through their paces

Forget to mention something Jade was embarrassed when her 'N' A-level in business studies was exposed

Forget to mention something Jade was embarrassed when her 'N' grade A-level in business studies was exposed

Lord Sugar concluded 'It’s a very very difficult moment for me right now. You’re both credible people to invest money in so is it the devil or is it the safety.

'Yours is a simpler business Ricky, and I'm not getting any younger, and yours is the safer investment. But I have a bit of a devil in me and Tom's offers a risk – so is it the safety, or is it the devil in me

He concluded: 'I should keep to my ethos of keeping it simple, keeping it straightforward. So Ricky you’re going to be my business partner. Ricky, you’re hired.'

Runner up Tom Gearing said 'If I was going to lose to anyone I was happy it was Ricky. He was such a strong and credible candidate. We had some amazing experiences, I met some really good people, it was fantastic, and I have no regrets about it at all.'

Determined: Nick, Ricky, Jade and Tom were battling it out to win a 250,000 investment and business partnership with Lord Sugar

Determined: Nick, Ricky, Jade and Tom were battling it out to win a 250,000 investment and business partnership with Lord Sugar