Shortly after being crowned the season 23 Mirrorball Trophy winner on night two of the ABC reality dancing competition series’ finale, the 16-year-old Olympic gymnast was delivered some ice cream while talking to press on the red carpet.
The flavor? “Cookies and cream!” Hernandez told PEOPLE.
“Ice cream is,” Hernandez began before pro partner Val Chmerkovskiy chimed in, “just a combination of the best flavors ever!”
Although the professional gymnast has a few Olympic medals under her belt, she told reporters that taking home the Mirrorball Trophy is just as exciting as winning at Rio 2016.
“I feel like they tie for each other. The Olympics, as a little kid, it was such a big goal that I’d created for myself and I was able to push through and make that happen, so for the Mirrorball, it was like I’ve always loved to dance and my passion was dancing as well as gymnastics, so winning the Mirrorball today was insane and amazing,” Hernandez said.
“Through my life, I do want to inspire others. That’s my goal every day, so because of Val, he’s taught me that it’s a good thing to go out and feel that pressure and have that responsibility to go and inspire others,” Hernandez said. “When I was a little kid, I looked up to other people, so I hope that I can inspire little kids.”
Although Hernandez’s time on the ABC series has come to a close, fans will see more of her dancing skills when she tours with the show’s professional dancers — and Chmerkovskiy is excited!
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“I’m definitely going to miss her,” the pro dancer said of his partner. “I’m excited that she’s going on tour with us and she’s going to continue to be a part of the Dancing with the Stars family. We love to have her.”
And this isn’t the first time the athlete has revealed her love of tasty food on the series! To channel the passion in her week 3 Tango, Hernandez pretended to smell a quesadilla.
“It’s not like I’ve ever had a boyfriend or anything. I mean, I sleep with a teddy bear at night,” Hernandez said, and told host Tom Bergeron, “I was telling Val, I was struggling to put in that emotion, so I was like, ‘I gotta pretend like I’m smelling a really good quesadilla.’ ”