U.S. gymnast Laurie Hernandez already earned gold and silver medals at the Rio Olympics, and now she's ready for the mirror ball.
The 16-year-old made her debut on the new season of Dancing With the Stars Monday night, dancing the cha-cha with her partner Val Chmerkovskiy. Before the performance, Hernandez made her priorities clear, saying, "I want to go out there, and I want to have fun and enjoy myself. I also want to win the mirror ball."
She's well on her way to doing just that, as her first dance earned a 31 out of 40, tying for first place with race car driver James Hinchcliffe. She's definitely got the technique down, and her glowing personality made the performance that much more enjoyable.
Laurie's performance was preceded by some controversy, as protesters rushed the stage after fellow Olympian Ryan Lochte's performance. The gymnast told People that her experience in competition gave her the focus not to be nervous following the incident.
"In gymnastics there have been times that a girl has gone out right before me and gets injured and has to be taken out on a stretcher," she said. "I just have to block that out of my mind and focus on what I have to do, so that's what I did tonight."
She added her disappointment in the protesters' actions, "because he came here to dance and put all that to the side and for it to follow him here is really sad."