Laurie Hernandez’s First Pitch Flip Dazzles Crowd: Is She The ‘Dancing With The Stars’ Season 23 Favorite?

Laurie Hernandez had to pull off a lot of complicated flips, twists, and twirls to win the world over at the Olympics, but all it took was one flip to wow the crowd at a New York Mets game. The gymnast threw the first pitch at Saturday night’s match-up against the Washington Nationals, and she decided to make her ceremonial throw a memorable one by giving it her own unique twist. Hernandez’s growing faction of supporters now includes Olympic viewers and baseball fans, and the gold medalist is hoping that a large number of Dancing with the Stars viewers will soon join her massive fan club.

As NBC Chicago reports, 16-year-old Laurie Hernandez was wearing her gold medal before she took the mound at Citi Field, but she handed the heavy hardware off to her sister so that she could perform her acrobatic first pitch. Hernandez’s aim wasn’t perfect (her pitch was just a bit outside), but the Final Five member looked like she was having an absolute blast. Her Dancing with the Stars partner, Val Chmerkovskiy, tried to make her feel a bit better about missing the strike zone by taking to Instagram to point out that rapper 50 Cent’s infamous first pitch was much worse.

Even though Laurie is used to performing in front of large crowds, she admitted that she was “kind of scared” about throwing the first pitch. However, overcoming her fear and agreeing to toss that baseball was worth it because she got to meet her favorite Mets player, pitcher Noah Syndergaard. Laurie and Noah posed for a photo to show just how extreme their height difference is.

Now that she’s done with baseball, Hernandez is ready to focus on her quest to win the coveted Mirrorball Trophy during Season 23 of Dancing with the Stars. According to E! News, Val Chmerkovskiy has described his partner as “a real gem,” but he admits that Hernandez needs “a lot of work on the frame.”

Laurie Hernandez might not look like a DWTS pro just yet, but she’s already favored to win Season 23 of the ABC reality competition. According to Fox Sports, Vegas oddsmakers give her a 4-1 shot at winning the Mirrorball Trophy, but Amber Rose is right behind her with odds of 5-1. According to People, the Amber Rose Show host has been partnered with Val Chermkovskiy’s older brother, Maks.

Oddsmakers give rapper Vanilla Ice and partner Witney Carson a 7-1 shot at icing the competition. The top five is rounded out by former Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson and Lindsay Arnold (8-1) and Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte and Cheryl Burke (10-1).

The remaining Season 23 couples are Taxi actress Marilu Henner and Derek Hough, former Texas governor Rick Perry and Emma Slater, Brady Bunch star Maureen McCormick and Artem Chigvintsev, musician Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds and Allison Holker, Wizards of Waverly Place actor Jake T. Austin and Jenna Johnson, IndyCar driver James Hinchcliffe and Sharna Burgess, Little Women: LA star Terra Jole and Sasha Farber, and One Tree Hill actress Jana Kramer and Gleb Savchenko.

As the Inquisitr previously reported, Laurie Hernandez took ballet classes when she was younger, so this may give her a slight advantage over her competition. She’s also gotten extra help in the form of advice from two other gymnasts who have already competed on Dancing with the Stars, Shawn Johnson and fellow Final Five member Aly Raisman. However, Laurie doesn’t just want to out-dance her fellow celebrities — she’s set another important goal for herself.

“I’m gonna make Len Goodman smile…. We are going to make Len Goodman smile,” Laurie said in a Dancing with the Stars clip shared by Access Hollywood.

You can find out if Laurie Hernandez’s infectious smile makes Len Goodman grin when Dancing with the Stars Season 23 premieres Monday, September 12 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC. Perhaps a Laurie flip will turn the judge’s frown upside down.

[Image via Laurie Hernandez/Twitter]