Dancing With the Stars Winner Laurie Hernandez on How the Show Changed Her Life

Laurie Hernandez better make some room on that Olympic medal shelf for Dancing With the Stars‘ Mirrorball. The gymnast and her professional partner Val Chmerkovskiy beat out the competitors to win season 23.

“It felt amazing,” Laurie told E! News after her big win. “We were able to go through this journey of 11 weeks together. I feel like because of this show I’ve really sprouted and matured as a person. It’s been such an amazing roller-coaster experience. I wouldn’t give it up for the world.”

The couple beat out former NFL pro Calvin Johnson Jr. and IndyCar driver James Hinchcliffe to clinch the top prize. This is Val’s second time winning Dancing With the Stars. He previously won season 20 with Rumer Willis.

“It’s awesome,” he told us. “It’s absolutely unparalleled how fulfilling it is to work with a young girl like that, see her blossom…and grow and ultimately come out triumphant.”

Val said he hopes viewers will look to Laurie, who is only 16, as an example that “anything is possible” if they work hard.

So what’s next for Laurie? The Dancing With the Stars tour—and she’s not giving up dancing anytime soon.

“I realized because of this show how much I love to dance…I’m glad I’m able to go out and keep on dancing,” she gushed. “It’s a passion of mine.”

And now let the Dancing With the Stars season 24 speculation begin!

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