The Women’s Gymnastic team Olympic qualifiers were July 10, and we finally have a Latina gymnast representing the red, white and blue! Laurie Hernandez, 16, wowed the crowd with her skills on the floor and the beam as she earned a spot on the Olympic team. Watch out, Rio. This Latina is about to make some serious moves.
This is Laurie Hernandez, a proud Latina (Puerto Rican) and a U.S. Women’s Gymnastics team member.
CREDIT: Via i-dont-understand-gymnastics / Tumblr
¡Wepa! Hernandez, who was born in New Jersey, is a proud puertorriqueña. Those close to her call her the “human emoji” because she is so expressive and never hides her emotions.
Oh, and she is just the second U.S.-born Latina ever to represent Team USA as an Olympic gymnast.
When you find out you're going to the olympics>> pic.twitter.com/st3A26seDM
— Laurie Hernandez ➶ (@lzhernandez02) July 11, 2016
The title of first U.S.-born Latina to tumble for Team USA belongs to Mexican-American Tracee Talavera, who competed during the 1984 Games in Los Angeles.
If you watch Hernandez’s performances during the qualifiers, there is really no question she deserves her spot on the team.
Watching @lzhernandez02 on the beam = ???
— NBC Olympics (@NBCOlympics) July 9, 2016
Hernandez has been doing gymnastics since she was 5 years old. Her parents originally enrolled her in dance classes, but she just was not feeling it. She told NBC Olympics that when she first saw gymnastics on television at that young age, she knew it was what she was destined to do.
And her floor routine was ON POINT!
— U.S. Olympic Team (@TeamUSA) July 9, 2016
And she has definitely put in the work to get to where she is. When she was 13, Hernandez suffered two serious injuries — a fractured wrist and a dislocated knee cap — that required surgery, but she never gave up on her Olympic dream.
Even though she isn’t the first Latina, Hernandez is proud and excited to represent Latinos on the U.S. Women’s Gymnastics team.
— U.S. Olympic Team (@TeamUSA) July 11, 2016
Credit: @TeamUSA / Twitter
“Si Dios lo quiere (If God wishes), to represent the U.S. as the only Latina gymnast would be such an honor,” Hernandez told The Guardian. “I feel I could be a role model to other Hispanic gymnasts interested in the sport, but I also want them to understand the importance of being focused, determined and not giving up, despite all the struggles.”
After qualifying for Rio, she spoke about her excitement about making the Olympic team and representing Latinos.
— Riya Bhattacharjee (@loislane28) July 11, 2016
Credit: @loislane28 / Twitter
Hernandez has already started to become so iconic that Drake is now sitting on her back.
— Laurie Hernandez ➶ (@lzhernandez02) April 30, 2016
Credit: @lzhernandez02 / Twitter
Get it, girl.