She’s 16 and competing for an Olympic medal.
Laurie Hernandez is making her name known in Rio de Janeiro. Although the 16-year-old began the competition with a personal setback — her coach removed her from the uneven bar prelims, which meant she couldn’t qualify for the individual all-around competition — she is seizing the opportunity to go home with an individual medal. During the qualifying round of gymnastics, the Boricua nailed her balance beam routine. Her routine was nearly flawless as she flipped, jumped and danced her way up and down the 4-inch-wide beam. She was solid af.
In the end, she scored an amazing 15.366, placing her in second in the event prelims. That gives Hernandez a shot at winning her first Olympic medal during the balance beam finals. The only person to beat Hernandez in the prelims was fellow American Simone Biles, who scored a 15.633 and is a favorite to win several medals during the competition.
Though she won’t be competing in the all-around competition due to a pulled abdominal muscle, the Boricua already has a gold. The U.S. women’s gymnastics team won the team competition this week by an outstanding 8 point lead. Basically, they slayed their competition by almost unprecedented margins. For reference, the 8-point lead they had to win is greater than all the leads for the past 8 Olympic Games combined.
You can watch Hernandez compete in the balance beam finals on August 15.