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Olympic gold medalist Laurie Hernandez on giving back

Laurie Hernandez burst onto the Senior Elite gymnastics scene in 2016, just in time for the Rio Olympic Games. Her goal had always been to make an Olympic Team and her dream has come true!

Laurie started gymnastics at the age of 6 when she asked her mother to enroll her in the sport because she had so much energy and always wanted to experience the feeling of flying.

The turning point in Laurie’s career happened in 2014 when her progress was stalled due to multiple injuries. She returned stronger than ever by becoming the 2015 U.S. Junior National Champion and has been on the rise since then.

Laurie is known for her dazzling floor exercise routine where she has been nicknamed the “human emoji” for her outgoing facial expressions and for her grace and artistry on the balance beam. She has since launched her very own “Lauriemoji” app!

Laurie is a second generation American, as her grandparents are from Puerto Rico, making her the first U.S. born Latina to make the U.S. team since 1984. Laurie credits her hard work, leadership skills, and her never give up attitude to her Mom, who was in the Army Reserves while Laurie was growing up.

Since bringing home the Gold and Silver medals at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, Laurie has gone on to win the coveted Mirror ball trophy on “Dancing with the Stars” Season 23 and her first book titled “I Got This: To Gold and Beyond” chronicling her journey thus far was published in January 2017, hitting the New York Times Best Sellers list.

When not in the gym, Laurie enjoys spending time with her family which includes her Mom and Dad, her older brother, and older sister. She is also involved in her church, likes to write poetry, paint, and learn dances in her spare time.