By: Annie Scaramuzzino
Better than a gold medal?
After another epic season, Laurie Hernandez has officially been crowned the winner of Dancing with the Stars season 23!
The 16-year-old and her partner Val Chmerkovskiy were awarded the Mirrorball trophy on last night’s finale, while James Hinchcliffe and partner Sharna Burgess came in second and Calvin Johnson and Lindsay Arnold placed third.
Hernandez and Chmerkovskiy were certainly a fan-favorite from their early days, thanks to their great chemistry and the Olympic gymnast’s award-winning smile and bubbly personality.
“I do want to inspire others and that’s my goal, every day,” Hernandez told Us Weekly. “And because of Val, he’s taught me that it’s a good thing to go out and feel that pressure and have that responsibility.”
As far as how winning the Mirrorball trophy measures up to winning gold at the Olympics, Hernandez says they’re closer than one might think.
“Honestly, I feel like they tie for each other,” she said. “I feel like the Olympics, as a little kid it was such a big goal that I created for myself and I was able to push through and make that happen. So for the Mirrorball — well, I’ve always loved to dance and that was my passion along with gymnastics, so winning the Mirrorball today was insane and amazing.”
Congrats to Laurie and Val!