Entertainment

Olympic Gold Medalist Laurie Hernandez Just Bragged So Hard About Her Parents

In 2016, a group of five young athletes went to the Summer Olympics in Rio Janerio with big dreams. There, the Olympians competed to be named the best in the world in their individual and group categories. Nicknamed the “Fab Five,” the women went on to earn silver and gold medals at the international games; proving that the gymnasts were the best of the best.

That same year, Laurie Hernandez — a member of the five — also earned gold on the TV dancing show, “Dancing with the Stars.” The athlete then focused her attention on the literary world. In 2017, she published her New York Times bestselling memoir, “I Got This,” and, in 2018, released her children’s picture book, “She’s Got This.” Hernandez even has a new hosting gig on “American Ninja Warrior” to keep her busy.

It seems that with every challenge she takes on, she succeeds.

Now the gymnast has her eyes set on 2020 and her next shot at Olympic greatness.

Twitter / @LaurieHernandez

Recently, Hernandez sat down with REFINERY 29 and shared her thoughts on power. Specifically, the Olympian explained what makes her feel powerful and what she does in those occasional times when she’s left feeling a little bit powerless.

Unsurprisingly, the athlete explained that she feels most powerful when moving and active. She discussed her workouts, saying:

“Sometimes it’s just gymnastics, but sometimes it’s doing other things, too — like cycling. But just testing how my body works makes me feel most powerful.”

Hernandez went on to elaborate that — to her —  power isn’t just about physical strength. The Latina believes that power also lies in having a strong spirit and mind. She added:

“Gymnastics can be more mental than physical sometimes. So throughout training, going through different tests — whether that’s competing with a lot of people or just with yourself can build your mental strength. So, just learning how to calm myself down; I think that’s pretty powerful.”

The Olympic medalist admitted that it’s her relationship with her parents that brings her back when she’s feeling less than powerful.

Twitter / @Variety

Hernandez explained that even though she and her family are living on two separate coasts, her mom and dad are still the people she goes to when she needs a pep talk. She admitted:

“The first thing I do is reach out to my family and close friends. Sometimes I feel like they know me better than I know myself. Especially my mom and dad; they’ve been supporting me since day one. I feel like they have all the answers. Right now I’m training in California and my family is in New Jersey, so there’s a lot of FaceTime going on.”

Not only do her parents help her when she’s feeling powerless, but they are also her role models when it comes to strength.

Twitter / @OKMagazine

The Latinidad is very family-oriented so we can relate to this. Hernandez doesn’t just look to her parents to revitalize her when she feels powerless. She also considers them her examples when the athlete thinks about what power looks like. After asking if she could pick her mom and dad as her power icons in the interview, Hernandez continued:

“My icons are my parents. After having to raise three kids, they’ve gone through a lot of different struggles. My siblings and I have been able to do so much in our lives because we had a really good foundation. There’s only so much your parents can give you, and yet it feels like our parents really gave us the world.”

She went on to explain that the example that her parents provided her and her siblings early on setting them up for the rest of their lives.

“I think without that foundation and without the things they taught us when we were little, we wouldn’t be where we are today. They’re so kind to other people, and that’s something that I want to follow their lead on. So, they’re my power icons.”

Hernandez ended the interview by saying that her power anthem is Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Know” and it only seems too fitting because it looks like nothing can stop the Latina athlete from achieving her dreams. We will be rooting for more gold for the gymnast in her return back to competition at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

She Was Body-Shamed During The 2016 Olympics And Has Now Been Named Mexico’s Best Non-Professional Athlete

Entertainment

She Was Body-Shamed During The 2016 Olympics And Has Now Been Named Mexico’s Best Non-Professional Athlete

alexa.morenomx / Instagram

In 2016, Mexicana Alexa Moreno traveled to Rio de Janeiro to compete for her country in the Olympics. Mexico rooted for her as she impressively competed in the uneven bars, floor exercise, beam, vault and more, earning 31st place. Meanwhile, instead of being deeply impressed by her skills, Mexican Twitter trolls body-shamed her. Not for long. Some people around the world rallied to her defense and pointed out her superior athleticism.

In fact, Mexico just awarded Moreno with the Premio Nacional del Deporte, naming her the best non-professional athlete in the entire country.

In a video shared to Twitter, gymnast Alexa Moreno thanked her supporters.

Credit: @alexa_moreno_mx / Twitter

“Thank you for this recognition and thanks to all who have supported me on the way to get here,” she captioned the video. “Today, I was informed that I was the winner of the Premio Nacional del Deporte. I’m very shocked. The truth is that I didn’t imagine this would happen at all,” she told her fans in the video. “It’s a huge surprise. It’s very gratifying. Yes, I’m very, very happy. There’s nothing else to say but thank you to everyone. I want to thank everyone who has been a part of my journey. There’s been an entire circle of people around me. It’s not just me. It’s not just my job. I want to thank all the people who believed in me, for believing in me. Thank you very much.”

Moreno is the first Mexican woman gymnast to medal at a world championship.

@alexa_moreno_mx / Twitter

Moreno became the first Mexican woman to medal at a world championship just last year, when she earned bronze on vault. Last month, Moreno competed in the 2019 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Stuttgart, Germany. Her performance on vault qualified her for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo!

Moreno’s supporters emoji-clapping all over Twitter.

“HONOR TO WHOM HONOR IS DUE,” tweeted sports journalist Jocelin Flores in Spanish. “Alexa Moreno, the first Mexican to climb the podium of the World Artistic Gymnastics Championship, is the winner of the 2019 National Sports Award, Non-Professional category.” One mother tweeted at Moreno to say in Spanish, “Congratulations! You are a great role model for the children of the country.”

“The most deserved,” tweeted Twitter user Sebastián, “I think she’s already established herself as the best Mexican gymnast of all time.”

When the haters were hating, some people were creating beautiful illustrations of Moreno.

Credit: Jose Acosta / Facebook

Moreno signed up for gymnastics when she was just 3-years-old. “Mexico needs people who prove that everything is possible,” Moreno told CCTV America in 2016. “You need to believe in yourself and fight to be able to do things that no one has ever done before.” Moreno is just 4’11” and 99 pounds. As the haters started deleting their tweets, Alexa Moreno went viral for all the fan art her inspirational performance generated.

We hope all the Mexican niñas are watching and being inspired by Moreno.

Credit: @kaleidoscopao / Instagram

“I can’t believe the criticism and bullying of #AlexaMoreno,” one Mexican woman shared to Instagram, along with a video of her routine. “I see this routine and I applaud it, it excites me, it inspires me. This girl is a champion and an example to follow. I was a gymnast and BELIEVE ME it is very difficult to reach that level in this country where the support for gymnastics is almost nil. How can it be that instead of being proud and encouraging we are the first to trash her?!?! What kind of country are we? How do we intend to train valuable athletes if we are the first to throw them down?!?!”

Even though Moreno did nothing to achieve her beauty, we have to say, she’s so beautiful.

Credit: @danpichardo / Twitter

Of course, we should all be talking about how 23 years of regimented, back-breaking athleticism has made her Mexico’s best gymnast. That takes the kind of athletic work that many of us will never know. Moreno is also “drop-dead gorgeous” as my mom would say. Not that it matters.

Felicidades a la favorita de México!

Credit: @publisportmx / Twitter

We are rooting for you, Moreno! The medal that qualified her for the 2020 Olympics scored at a 14.508, less than one point behind the infamous U.S. gymnastics gold champion Simone Biles. Mexico has never taken home a medal in gymnastics. With Moreno competing on behalf of México, we’re high-key rooting she becomes the first Mexican to climb up on an Olympic podium to medal in gymnastics. Let the haters hate. Mexico loves you, Moreno, and so do we.

READ: A Mexican Gymnast Who Was Body-Shamed During The 2016 Olympics Just Qualified For The 2020 Games

The NCAA Is Ready To Abandon Its Outdated Beliefs: College Athletes Will Now Be Able To Reap Gains On Endorsement Deals

Entertainment

The NCAA Is Ready To Abandon Its Outdated Beliefs: College Athletes Will Now Be Able To Reap Gains On Endorsement Deals

NCAA / Instagram

Every year billions of dollars are generated off the backs of an unpaid labor force: college athletes. Universities take advantage of athletes’ amateur status to pocket the profits of what has turned into an exploitative world of high-revenue college sports. But legislators are forcing college sports to find fairer alternatives.

The NCAA announced yesterday that it voted in favor of letting college athletes profit from their name, image, and likeness.

twitter@NCAA

The Board of Governors of the NCAA, which oversees college sports, announced yesterday that it had voted unanimously to adjust rules that prohibited players from generating money from their own fame. The move came after lawmakers in several states began proposing or enacting legislation that gives college athletes the right to profit off their name and likeness. 

Last month, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed the Fair Pay to Play Act, giving college athletes the ability to earn income from endorsements and sponsorships starting in 2023. 

The legislation bypassed a National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) ban on players receiving any compensation aside from scholarships. At the time, NCAA regulations disallowed student athletes from executing any endorsement deals or accepting payment for the use of their images. The new California law, which is scheduled to go into effect in 2023, would now allow them to reap the financial rewards for their athletic abilities. It would also bar the NCAA from retaliating against the colleges and student athletes. 

In an interview with the New York Times, Newsom said, “Every single student in the university can market their name, image and likeness; they can go and get a YouTube channel and they can monetize that. The only group that can’t are athletes. Why is that?” 

While the NCAA’s reluctant bend in favor of popular opinion is understandably being characterized as a landmark victory for college athletes, the organization was vague about how it plans to implement these changes. 

instagram @alanwilmotlaw

The NCAA said the updated policies would be “in a manner consistent with the collegiate model.” But the organization’s idea of “collegiate model” is rooted in the fallacy that college athletes are amateurs, even if schools and coaches are being paid bountifully for these athletes’ hard work. So who knows whether yesterday’s vote is truly a turning point for the NCAA—or just an attempt to head off more far-reaching reforms.

For now, the NCAA should thank government officials for applying the necessary pressure to force college sports in a new direction. 

That more athletes would get tired of being exploited by the NCAA and its member schools was only a matter of time. If the organization doesn’t change its ways, a true collegiate pay-for-play system could emerge—and not under the NCAA’s control. Lawmakers in California and other states created a perfect opportunity for the NCAA to abandon its outdated beliefs and embrace a progressive system that will ensure its survival.

An HBO documentary, Student Athlete, highlights the travails of college athletes. 

instagram @universitynow

A former Rutgers football player is depicted working part-time jobs after graduating and sleeps in his car. ‘Student Athlete’ unveils the exploitative world of high-revenue college sports through the stories of four young men at different stages in their athletic careers.The documentary posits that those who don’t make it big after graduation would at least earn something for all of their hard work.  

Coaches make millions while players and their families live below the poverty line.

twitter @chicagosports

Former coach and NCAA critic John Shoop said, “The coaches are making millions of dollars and they’re coaching players whose parents live below the poverty line.” “If you’re a reasonable person, it’s insane to build a $150 million recruiting facility, pay your head coach $10 million, the rest of your staff $20 million cumulative, but then say there’s not enough money to help the players.”

The new rules might prove especially beneficial to athletes whose careers end at college level —particularly female athletes.

twitter @kjramming

Despite the imbalances that exist in college sports, the new rules should put the NCAA in a better position to create more financial opportunities for players—especially those whose athletic careers end at the college level. The policy change could prove particularly beneficial to female athletes, who usually don’t have the same professional opportunities as men and often reach the height of their popularity in college. As the former UCLA gymnast Katelyn Ohashi pointed out recently in The New York Times, she missed out on a lot of money because she was unable to capitalize on her viral fame.

“The NCAA is a billion-dollar industry built on the backs of college athletes,” Ohashi stated. “How different would things be for me had I been able to use my image and name my last year of school in order to promote the things I want to further my future? I want to make sure the next person doesn’t have to wonder.”

The new legislation and NCAA rule, may finally level the playing field and offer the student-athletes the opportunity to be compensated for their hard work.