Watching this girl perform is the closest thing I have felt to seeing the Spice Girls perform when I was about 12 years old. I feel nothing but pure joy and am unable to get the smile off of my face. Laurie Hernandez was born on June 9, 2000. She was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey and is a second generation Puerto Rican. One of her nicknames is the Human Emoji due to her many facial expressions. She is the youngest team member of the famous Final Five gymnastics team and helped the team to win gold in the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Hernandez began her gymnastics career at only five years old and has no plans of slowing down. She is also the first Latina born in the United States to make the USA Olympic team since 1984 when Tracee Talavera did. Laurie completely dominates on the floor and is second to only Simone Biles, yet she has some time to learn and become even better. Laurie told NBC, “My earlier memory was watching gymnastics on live TV, and wanting to do what the ‘big girls’ did.” It was not her parents that encouraged her to do gymnastics; it was Laurie’s intense dedication and interest of the sport.
Perhaps one of the tricks in her book is that she has been with the exact same gymnastics coach almost since she started, but since 2005 she has worked with Maggie Haney. She is the only first-year senior gymnast on the U.S. team this year. Hernandez has always been so dedicated to her gymnastics that she has been homeschooled since the third grade. It is a little known fact that Laurie hopes to attend the University of Florida one day and become a Florida Gator. During training days, she is at the gym for five to six hours a day, six days a week. But she always brings happiness and spunk to her sessions! May she continue to be a star that shines bright!