They both brought home gold medals from Rio, but they'll have to compete against each other for the one and only Mirror Ball trophy during Season 23 of ABC's Dancing With the Stars (DWTS). Olympians Ryan Lochte and Laurie Hernandez will meet on DWTS, but it won't be the first time they've seen each other. Meanwhile, they'll also take on a diverse group of actors, celebrities, and fellow athletes.
According to the cast list announced by ABC on Tuesday, Lochte will dance with two-time DWTS champ Cheryl Burke, while Hernandez will partner with former champ Val Chmerkovskiy. They'll both be in good hands, but they could face tough competition from contenders like Amber Rose, retired pro football player Calvin Johnson, and Vanilla Ice. The new season starts in less than two weeks on Sept. 12.
Although they were both involved with Team USA during the Games, it's unclear if they ever officially met while in Rio. Hernandez and her fellow Final Five team members on the women's gymnastics team are typically pretty good about letting the public know which famous faces they've come across. For instance, Hernandez's Instagram account shows that she and her teammates recently met Kim Kardashian West at the MTV Video Music Awards and Zac Efron during their trip to Rio; there was no sign of Lochte in the mix.
Lochte doesn't seem as quick to give meet-and-greet shout-outs on social media, but his Instagram account also does not show a photo with Hernandez. However, they've definitely met, as they stood next to each other in New York City on Tuesday morning while ABC announced the new cast of DWTS on Good Morning America. They didn't seem particularly friendly or familiar, so that could have been the first time they came into contact with one another — but it definitely won't be the last they see of each other.
If history decides to repeat itself, then Hernandez may have the upper hand heading into a face-off with Lochte on the dance floor. In season eight, Olympic gymnast extraordinaire Shawn Johnson took home the coveted Mirror Ball trophy while competing with pro Mark Ballas. In fact, Olympians in general have a successful track record with the dancing show. Former Olympians Kristi Yamaguchi, Meryl Davis, and Apolo Anton Ohno have also won previous seasons.
For both Lochte and Hernandez, the competition that kicks off in September will be much different than the ones they tackled in August. They'll have to learn a new sport in very little time, and they'll compete for opposing teams. They may have similar gold medals perched in their trophy cases at home, but only one competitor will earn DWTS' Mirror Ball.