"I'm so excited for the future," says the Olympian

By Patrick Gomez
December 02, 2016 10:15 AM
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Life never seems to slow down for Laurie Hernandez.

After winning Olympic gold in Rio this summer, the gymnast dove right into season 23 of Dancing with the Stars, which she won with pro dancer Valentin Chmerkovskiy on Nov. 22.

“It still hasn’t really hit me,” she says in the current issue of PEOPLE of winning the ABC reality dance competition. “Somehow I’ll get reminded, and I’ll just think, ‘That’s crazy!’ ”

After winning the Mirrorball Trophy, Hernandez — whose grandmother died on Nov. 9 — headed home to New Jersey to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with her family.

“It was so important to have us all together. It was nice because they all came out for the finale, but I was really busy with the show. So it was great to have that time at home,” says Hernandez. “I rarely ever get to spend time with my family, so even though it was only for a few days, I really cherished those moments we were all together.”

  • For more from Laurie Hernandez — including where she keeps her Olympic medals — pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands now

But now it’s back out on the road for Hernandez, who will tour the country with the Dancing with the Stars: Live! tour, which kicks off Dec. 16.“Floor exercise is my favorite gymnastics event because I’ve always loved to dance, so doing this tour was a no-brainer for me,” says the 16-year-old. “I did the [Kellogg’s Tour of Gymnastics Champions], which was amazing, but this will be the first show I’m doing on a proper stage.”

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Credit: Getty

After the tour wraps in February, the gymnast says she finally plans on taking a little break.”Even though the tour will be a lot of fun, it’s definitely not a break. After that, I’ll probably head right back into gymnastics. I miss it.” says Hernandez, who will release her memoir on Jan. 24. “I’m so excited for the future.”