16-Year-Old Laurie Hernandez on Balancing Olympic Press Tour, School and DWTS: 'I Don't Need a Break'
Hernandez is paired with pro dancer Valentin Chmerkovskiy on season 24 of Dancing with the Stars
Though the gold and silver medalist has a full plate following the Rio Olympics – including high school, the Olympic press tour and training for DWTS – the 16-year-old exclusively tells PEOPLE, “I don’t need a break.”
“I used to always watch Dancing with the Stars with my family. Right after workout we would just come home and put the show on,” she tells PEOPLE.
“I remember having a workout at the Olympics and my coach was like, ‘Oh yeah, by the way, you’re doing Dancing with the Stars,” she adds. “And so I was freaking out,” the Final Five member says of being on the ABC dancing reality competition series.
Hernandez, who is paired with Mirror Ball trophy winner Valentin Chmerkovskiy, will be competing against fellow Olympian and gold medalist Ryan Lochte on the ballroom floor, as well as fellow A-listers including Amber Rose, Marilu Henner and Vanilla Ice.
“I’m just so excited to be here,” Hernandez tells PEOPLE. “This is such a great experience.”
Season 23 of Dancing with the Stars premieres Sept. 12 on ABC.