Well, the results are finally in–Laurie Hernandez and Val Chmerkovskiy are the winners of Season 23 of DWTS! Laurie is now the youngest dancer to ever win the coveted title (and fifth winning Olympian) at just 16 years old. Fellow gymnast Shawn Johnson previously was the youngest winner, claiming the title at 19.
“I just want to thank everyone for the support and riding along this crazy roller coaster of my life,” Hernandez said seconds after being titled first place.
The Olympic gymnast has been killing it since the beginning and delivered consistent choreography every week–she and Val received five straight perfect scores over three weeks. Calvin and Lindsay took third place, and James and Sharna came in second.
“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. … I’ve always loved to dance and my passion was dancing as well as gymnastics, so winning the mirrorball (trophy) today was insane and amazing,” Hernandez explained while hitting the post-show red carpet with runners-up James Hinchcliffe and Sharna Burgess and third-place winners Calvin Johnson Jr. and Lindsay Arnold.
Chmerkovskiy, who officially became a two-time professional champ last night, is also incredibly proud of his dance partner. “I wanted to set an example through her … for her generation that anything is possible. To stay hungry, to stay humble, she’s a testament to that,” he said. That she is.
Check out some of our favorite pics of Laurie and Val throughout Season 23. Do you think they were the real winners? Let us know!