Olympians Simone Biles and Laurie Hernandez have plenty in common. For one, they're dynamic athletes. And that athleticism took them all the way to the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, where they were part of gold medal-winning team, the Final Five. More recently, Hernandez and Biles have appeared on ABC's Dancing With The Stars — Seasons 23 and 24, respectively. Seeing as it's yet another competition for these two, it's almost human nature to compare the ex-teammates' DWTS experiences. And after Biles totally slayed her top-scoring performance during Season 24's March 21 debut, putting her in the same category as DWTS' Season 23 Mirrorball Trophy winner, Hernandez, may make sense. However, both Olympians are still individuals and it's not fair to always compare them.
Season 24's premiere of DWTS was definitely one for the books. This season's competition is steep, but I have to say, Biles is, without a doubt, one of my faves. She's been paired with professional dancer Sasha Farber, and they are a match made in heaven. Like 16-year-old Hernandez and her Ukrainian-god of a partner Valentin Chmerkovskiy, #TeamGoldenGiggles is the duo to beat. The pairing came right out the gate with a breathtaking performance that was described by judge Carrie Ann Inaba as an "exquisite exhibition of technique, elegance, and power all wrapped together in a crunchy, yummy tango." And she was so right — the two totally killed it.
But, that's not where my issue lives. Instead, Farber announcing during rehearsal that he wanted Biles to prove that she was just as good of a dancer as Hernandez, and Biles saying that she channeled her "inner Laurie" for the routine, made me cringe a little. I'm sure that these two meant well with their comments, but it seemed a little self-deprecating — at least in my opinion. Hernandez was amazing last season — that's no secret — but Biles happens to be an amazing dancer in her own right. That's something to celebrate, and not a revelation to shy away from.
To participate in a dance competition when you're not inherently a dancer adds a new level of stress. And putting pressure on Biles to compete as well as her Final Five teammate in Season 23 is so not fair. Biles performing well doesn't take anything away from Hernandez, and vice versa. And so, we should totally let her enjoy the spotlight without all of the Laurie Hernandez references.