The 16-year-old, who earned gold and silver medals at this year’s Rio Olympics and is now competing on live television for her shot at winning the Mirror Ball trophy, might be the biggest competition on season 23.
“I think Laurie obviously is the one everyone’s got their eye on,” race car driver James Hinchcliffe told PEOPLE of who he views as the potential frontrunner. “Half of what her profession is is dance anyway. And she’s such a great personality, such a fun person, great character, huge smile. It’s easy to love her so on the dance floor and off in the vote world, that’s gonna be tough for sure,” the 29-year-old added.
Professional dancers Sharna Burgess and Lindsay Arnold also agreed. “Oh yeah, she’ll be incredible” Burgess, 31, told PEOPLE. Arnold, 22, added: “I feel like Laurie is gonna be pretty incredible. When you watch her compete in the Olympics, she has so much grace. I would say she’s the most graceful of the 5 that competed so I’m like dang, she’s gotta have some serious moves. I’m assuming she’s gonna be really great.”
“I think we don’t know, because we have to see people first. I think Laurie and Val are the frontrunners but Vegas thinks that we’re right there so you never know,” Chmerkoskiy, 36, told PEOPLE.
Season 23 of Dancing with the Stars returns Sept. 12 on ABC.