Laurie Hernandez at the Artistic Gymnastics - Rio de Janeiro Olympics 2016

Laurie Hernandez

Meet the first U.S.-born Hispanic athlete born in the 21st century to win an Olympic gold medal.

Laurie Hernandez was one of the first generation of athletes born in the 21st century to win an Olympic gold medal – just under a month after her 16th birthday. She was part of the USA’s remarkable “Final Five” team at Rio Olympic Games in 2016 – alongside brilliant teammates MyKayla Skinner, Gabby Douglas, Madison Kocian, and Simone Biles, who is already considered possibly the best gymnast of all time. She is the first U.S.-born Hispanic athlete on the U.S. team since 1984.

Gymnastics - Artistic - Olympics: Day 10©GettyImages

Post-Games, Hernandez became something of a celebrity back home. She competed on – and won – series 23 of Dancing with the Stars, partnering Val Chmerkovskiy and becoming the youngest winner in the show’s history. She’s since forged something of a second career as a TV star – co-hosting American Ninja Warrior Junior and starring in the Nickelodeon series Middle School Moguls.

In 2020, Hernandez is very active in social media as she continues to inspire many women and young girls. With two parents from the island of Puerto Rico, Hernandez grew up surrounded by Puerto Rican culture, proudly representing Latinas in a sport that didn‘t have many of them. You can see her in a new docuseries ‘Defying Gravity: The Untold Story of Women’s Gymnastics’ which explores what it takes to be an elite gymnast.

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