She is the first Latina gymnast for the U.S. in more than 10 years. That’s just the beginning.
Laurie Hernandez has proven to be a total powerhouse in gymnastics during the Rio Olympics. But she is more than just a gymnast; to so many people she is an inspiration. The 16-year-old Puerto Rican is the youngest member of the women’s gymnastics team and helped the team secure a gold medal for the second year in a row. Not to mention that she is the first Latina to represent the U.S. in gymnastics in more than 10 years and the fourth in 80 years.
“I feel I could be a role model to other Hispanic gymnasts interested in the sport,” Hernandez told The Guardian. “But I also want them to understand the importance of being focused, determined, and not giving up, despite all the struggles.”
She’s back! After an almost five-year hiatus, Olympic gymnast Laurie Hernandez made her big return to competition at Saturday’s 2021 Winter Cup meet with moves to remember — set to some pretty unforgettable music, too.
The 20-year-old gold and silver medalist hit the mat with a “Hamilton”-inspired floor routine.
Laurie Hernandez just gave a stunning floor routine at the 2021 Winter Cup.
Please welcome Laurie Hernandez back to the floor! After a four-and-a-half-year hiatus, the 20-year-old Olympian showed off her strength, proving, like Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote, she is inimitable and an original.
“My first priority [at Winter Cup] is to go in and hit clean routines and show that I can be consistent,” Hernandez told NBC News. “But my next one is to enjoy myself.” It sure looks like she accomplished her goal, with nonstop energy and a smile on her face throughout her entire choreography.
As “The Room Where It Happens” played in the background, Hernandez flipped and danced her way to a 12.05 score in the event, good for an 11th-place finish in the floor exercise.
And after the USA Gymnastics Winter Cup in Indianapolis wrapped up, the noted theater fan shared her routine on Twitter and asked for feedback from “Hamilton” creator Lin Manuel Miranda and actor Leslie Odom Jr. — who sang “The Room Where It Happens” as Aaron Burr in the original cast.
This weekend’s performance was her first since stealing hearts during the 2016 Rio games.
Hernandez was part of the Team USA “Final Five” squad that won gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics. But following those games she took a step back from competition, later revealing that former coach Maggie Haney was emotionally and verbally abusive toward her. The gymnast dealt with depression and eating disorders as a result.
Hernandez said it wasn’t until years later that she realized her love of the sport could be separated from the trauma she experienced. “I thought I hated gymnastics, and it wasn’t until mid-2018 I realized that it was the people that made the experience bad, not the sport itself,” she explained on Instagram.
Though she already has a gold medal from the team all-around and a silver medal from her 2016 individual performance on the beam, Hernandez is now ramping up for more challenging competitions over the next several months with the hopes of qualifying for the Olympics this summer. But with a crowded field vying against her for just four roster spots, securing a bid to Tokyo will undoubtedly be an uphill battle.
UCLA senior Nia Dennis is back with the big tricks again!
The fantastic graduate put on a majestic floor routine over the weekend with a spectacular mashup of music from Black artists. The star gymnast’s exciting and powerful performance reigned in a massive volume of over 8 million views on Twitter.
Nia’s floor routine earned her a near-perfect 9.95 score.
The powerful routine paid tribute to Black Excellence and took only 90 seconds to stun. Featuring mega artists such as Kendrick Lamar, Beyonce, Missy Elliott, Soulja Boy, Megan Thee Stallion, and 2Pac. Speaking about the routine Nia explained to NBC that she really wanted her routine to “shine light on Black culture and bring it into the gymnastics world, and that’s what I feel like I did.”
It’s not the first time Nia’s floor routine has made people lose their ahe ahe breath.
The gymnast from the University of California Los Angeles stole the show last spring in March when she did a performance to Beyoncé’s best hits.
The Beyoncé fan took on songs like “Crazy In Love” and “Ego” during her routine.
During her routine, the college junior mashed up several of Beyoncé’s beloved classics including “Lose My Breath” and “Crazy in Love.” She nailed and hit every spin and flip she set out to do with the confidence of Queen Bey and the perfection of an actual queen. Dennis finished the routine by pantomiming a crown on her head.
In the end, Dennis scored a 9.975 for her routine– which is close to a perfect score.
Naturally, Bey fans were thrilled over the gymnast’s routine and her routine has quickly gone viral.