Laurie Hernandez

Lauren Zoe Hernandez (born June 9, 2000) is an American artistic gymnast. During her debut year as a senior gymnast, she competed as a member of the U.S. women's gymnastics team dubbed the "Final Five" at the 2016 Summer Olympics; Ultimately, the U.S. won gold in the team event. In the individual events, Hernandez earned the silver medal on the balance beam.[3] She returned to training in late 2018 and expressed interest in making a comeback to earn a spot on the U.S. women's gymnastic team for the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.

Laurie Hernandez
Laurie Hernandez (35055904373) (cropped).jpg
Hernandez in Phoenix, Arizona in July 2017
Personal information
Full nameLauren Zoe Hernandez
Nickname(s)Baby Shakira and The Human Emoji[1]
Country represented United States
Born (2000-06-09) June 9, 2000 (age 21)
Old Bridge Township, New Jersey
Training locationMorganville, New Jersey
Height5 ft 1 in (155 cm)[2]
DisciplineWomen's artistic gymnastics
LevelSenior International Elite
Years on national team2012–16 (USA)
ClubGym-Max Gymnastics (since 2018), MG Elite (former)
Head coach(es)Jenny Liang
Former coach(es)Maggie Haney

Outside of gymnastics, Hernandez has appeared on season 23 of Dancing with the Stars in 2016, where she won the competition along with partner Val Chmerkovskiy. Hernandez hosted the first season of American Ninja Warrior Junior as the on-course reporter and starred as Valeria in the Nickelodeon animated miniseries Middle School Moguls. She is the author of two books, I Got This: To Gold and Beyond, a New York Times Bestseller and She's Got This, a children's book.

Personal lifeEdit

Hernandez was born in Old Bridge Township, New Jersey, the daughter of Wanda and Anthony Hernandez, both from Puerto Rico. She attended Abeka Academy High School in Old Bridge, New Jersey.[4] She has a sister, Jelysa, and a brother, Marcus, who graduated from Rutgers University in 2018.[5] She is of Puerto Rican descent.[6][7]

Gymnastics careerEdit

Junior careerEdit


Hernandez's elite career started in 2012 at the U.S. Classic, where she placed 11th in the junior division.[8] Through the Classic, she qualified to the National Championships in St. Louis, where she placed 21st after two days of competition.[9]


Hernandez's first meet of the 2013 season was the WOGA Classic, won the silver medal in the all-around behind Meredith Sylvia.[10] In June, she competed at the American Classic in Huntsville, Texas. There, she placed first on floor exercise, second in the all-around behind Ariana Agrapides, and third on balance beam and vault.[11]

Following a national training camp, in July 2013 Hernandez was added to the U.S. junior national team.[12] She then went to Chicago for the U.S. Classic, where she placed sixth all-around and won the floor exercise title.[13] At the National Championships in August, she won the silver medal in the junior all-around competition with a total score of 116.650, behind Bailie Key.[14] She also placed second on uneven bars and floor exercise, and tied for third on beam with Alexis Vasquez.[15]

In September, Hernandez was selected to represent the U.S. at the Junior Japan International in Yokohama. She scored 56.750 to win the bronze medal in the all-around. She also took third on vault, fourth on floor exercise, and sixth on balance beam.[16] In November, she competed at the International Junior Mexican Cup in Acapulco alongside Bailie Key, Veronica Hults, and Emily Gaskins, and they won the team gold medal. Individually, Hernandez won the silver medal in the all-around behind Key.[17]


In early 2014, Hernandez fractured her wrist when she slipped off the beam in a training session.[18] She returned to competition soon after the injury but then suffered a torn patellar tendon and dislocated kneecap, resulting in six months out of gymnastics. She resumed training in the fall and attended the final U.S. training camp of the year in November.[19]


Hernandez was named to the U.S. team for the 2015 City of Jesolo Trophy, where she was crowned junior all-around champion with a score of 57.650, ahead of teammates Norah Flatley and Jazmyn Foberg.[20] In the junior-division event finals, she earned additional gold medals on the uneven bars, with a score of 14.500, and the floor exercise, with a score of 14.650.[21]

At the 2015 U.S. Classic in July, Hernandez won the junior all-around title with a score of 58.450, as well as winning vault (14.900) and uneven bars (15.000). She placed third on balance beam (14.200) and floor exercise (14.350, tied with Deanne Soza).[22]

At the National Championships, she had a score of 57.900 on the first day of competition and 59.550 on the second day, winning the junior all-around title over defending champion Foberg. She also won the title on the uneven bars with a combined two-day score of 30.100, silver on the floor exercise, and bronze on balance beam and vault.[23]

Hernandez was then selected to compete at the 2015 International Junior Japan Meet in Yokohama, where she won the all-around, floor exercise, and vault and won silver medals on balance beam and uneven bars.[24]

Senior careerEdit


Hernandez made her senior debut in 2016 at the City of Jesolo Trophy in Jesolo, Italy, where the U.S. team won the gold medal.[25] Hernandez won the bronze medal in the all-around with a score of 58.550, behind two U.S. teammates, fellow first-year senior Ragan Smith and Gabby Douglas, the 2012 Olympic all-around champion.[26] She also earned a silver medal on vault and a gold medal on balance beam, ahead of Smith and 2012 Olympian Aly Raisman.[27][28]

In April, Hernandez competed at the Pacific Rim Gymnastics Championships in Everett, Washington along with Raisman, Smith, three-time world all-around champion Simone Biles, and 2015 World Championships team member Brenna Dowell. She contributed an all-around score of 59.800 toward the American team's first-place finish and placed third individually behind Biles and Raisman, but did not earn the all-around bronze medal because of a rule limiting medals to two gymnasts per country (Japan's Nagi Kajita took bronze instead). Hernandez also qualified for the balance beam final, but USA Gymnastics announced that she and Biles would not compete in event finals in order to rest them before the Olympics.[29]

In June, Hernandez competed at the U.S. Classic[30] on bars only, scoring 15.400.[31] Later that month, she competed all four events at the National Championships. At the end of night one, she was tied for second place in the all-around with Raisman, behind Biles, with a score of 60.450.[32] On night two, she scored 14.800 on vault, 15.150 on uneven bars, 15.300 on balance beam, and 14.800 on floor exercise. She finished the two-day competition in third all-around, behind Biles and Raisman.[33] She placed third on uneven bars and balance beam, and tied for third on floor exercise with MyKayla Skinner.[34]

At the Olympic Trials in early July, Hernandez placed second in the all-around, behind Biles. She was named to the Olympic team alongside Biles, Douglas, Raisman and Madison Kocian.[35]

In 2014, Hernandez committed to the University of Florida to compete on the Florida Gators gymnastics team in the NCAA. However, she decided to forgo NCAA eligibility and become a professional athlete on August 3, 2016, in the lead-up to the Olympic Games.[36]

Rio de Janeiro OlympicsEdit

Hernandez at the 2016 Summer Olympics

On August 7, Hernandez competed in the women's qualification at the 2016 Summer Olympics, where the top eight teams advance to the team finals.[37] Hernandez scored a 15.200 on vault, a 15.366 on balance beam, and a 14.800 in floor exercise, qualifying to the balance beam event finals in second place.[38][39] She posted the fourth highest score on floor, but did not advance to the final due to the two-per-country rule, with teammates Biles and Raisman getting higher scores.[38] Hernandez did not compete on uneven bars. The United States team finished first in team qualifications, securing a spot in team finals with a score of 185.238.[37]

On August 9, Hernandez and the rest of the United States team, known as the Final Five, won gold in the team competition. The Americans won every event, scoring a total of 184.897, more than eight points higher than second-place team Russia (176.688) and third-place team China (176.003).[40][41] Hernandez was the first competitor on vault and floor exercise for the United States team.[40] She contributed to the overall score with 15.100 on vault, 15.233 on beam and 14.833 on floor exercise.[40][41]

On August 15 during event finals, Hernandez won a silver medal on balance beam with a score of 15.333. She placed ahead of teammate Simone Biles, who placed third with a score of 14.733 after making an error and grabbing the beam, and behind Sanne Wevers of the Netherlands, who won gold with a score of 15.466.[42][43]


After the Olympics, Hernandez appeared on the television show Dancing with the Stars. She continued appearing on television and in the media throughout the next four years, as a show host and voice actor as well as a celebrity guest. She returned to gymnastics training in October 2018,[44] after two years off.[45] Although Hernandez previously trained in New Jersey at MG Elite, for her comeback she chose to switch gymnastics clubs and train at Gym-Max in California[44] with coaches Jenny Zhang and Howie Liang.[46] In August 2019, she said that she was training five hours per day, six days a week.[45] Hernandez was invited to the national team training camp held November 15–18, 2019[47] after spectating at the US Championships in August and speaking to team coordinator Tom Forster while there.[48]


In January 2020, Hernandez said that she was focusing on meets beginning in late May 2020: the U.S. Classic, USA National Championships, and the US Olympic Trials.[49] Hernandez did not attend the February national team training camp, despite being invited.[50][49] As the February camp was a selection for spring international meets, Hernandez could not participate in competitions held in March and April 2020. According to team coordinator Tom Forster, Hernandez accepted an invitation to the April camp.[50][49] On April 29, Hernandez's former coach Maggie Haney was suspended by USA Gymnastics for eight years due to abusive conduct.[51] Hernandez testified against Haney at the USA Gymnastics hearing,[51] and posted a message about her experiences on her social media without naming the coach.[52] Haney publicly humiliated Hernandez for her weight, leading Hernandez to binge and purge.[53] She also forced Hernandez to train and compete while injured. As of 2020, Hernandez still struggles with depression and disordered eating that began due to Haney's abuse.[54] Within the gymnastics community, Haney's suspension was seen as progress for USA Gymnastics,[55] and fans widely supported Hernandez online.[56]


In February, Hernandez made her return to elite gymnastics at the 2021 Winter Cup, competing in two events. Despite competing a downgraded floor routine, Hernandez managed to hit a clean beam routine to finish fifth on the event behind Skye Blakely, Jordan Chiles, Sunisa Lee, and Konnor McClain.[57] Hernandez was one of five gymnasts featured on the Peacock docuseries Golden: The Journey of USA's Elite Gymnasts.[58]

In June, Hernandez competed at the 2021 U.S. championships. She competed in beam and vault. Hernandez had to withdraw from the competition after hyperextending her left knee in balance beam warm-ups. Hernandez had her knee heavily wrapped. She was not added to the national team, and she did not qualify to compete at the upcoming Olympic Trials.[59]

Hernandez participated in Simone Biles' Gold Over America Tour in the fall of 2021.[60]

Television roles and media appearancesEdit

Dancing with the StarsEdit

Hernandez was revealed as one of the celebrities competing on season 23 of Dancing with the Stars on August 30, 2016. She was partnered with professional dancer Valentin Chmerkovskiy.[61] The couple won the Mirrorball Trophy on the episode that aired November 22, 2016.[62] At 16, Hernandez is currently the show's youngest winner.[63]

In November 2017, Hernandez returned to the 25th season in week eight,[64] to participate in a trio jive with Victoria Arlen and her professional partner Valentin Chmerkovskiy.[65]

Other television rolesEdit

On July 15, 2018, Hernandez announced on Instagram that she will be co-hosting American Ninja Warrior Junior.[66]

On September 11, 2018, it was announced that Hernandez would be joining Jane Lynch and Tim Gunn in the Nickelodeon animated mini-series Middle School Moguls, voicing a character named Valeria.[67]

Year Title Role Notes
2016 Dancing with the Stars Herself Contestant on Season 23
2017 Stuck in the Middle 2 episodes
2018 Sesame Street Cameo on Season 48
Celebrity Family Feud Summer 2018 Season
American Ninja Warrior Junior Co-Host
2019 Middle School Moguls Valeria Voice role
Ryan's Mystery Playdate Herself Episode: "Ryan's Champion Playdate/Ryan's Traveling Playdate"
2020 Blue's Clues & You! Episode: "Happy Birthday, Blue!"
2021 Golden: The Journey of USA's Elite Gymnasts Peacock docuseries

Media appearancesEdit

On November 24, 2016, she appeared on the 90th anniversary of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, riding the Spirit of America float.[68]

From November 24–26, 2017, Hernandez was the special guest narrator for the Candlelight Processional at Epcot Center in Disney World.[69]


Hernandez released her book I Got This: To Gold and Beyond on January 24, 2017.[70] In 2018 Hernandez published a similar children's book for younger readers titled She's Got This, with illustrations by Nina Mata.[71]

Competitive historyEdit


Year Event Team AA VT UB BB FX
2012 American Classic 8 10 8   6
Secret U.S. Classic 11 10 23 7 6
National Championships 21 19 19 21 17
2013 WOGA Classic   4   4 9
Parkettes Invitational          
American Classic     7    
U.S. Classic 6 8 8 16  
National Championships   5      
Japan Junior International     6 4
Junior Mexican Cup    
2015 City of Jesolo Trophy        
U.S. Classic          
National Championships          
Japan Junior International          


Year Event Team AA VT UB BB FX
2016 City of Jesolo Trophy        
Pacific Rim Championships  
U.S. Classic 4
National Championships        
Olympic Trials   4 7    
Olympic Games    
2017 did not compete
2021 Winter Cup 5 13
U.S. Classic 22


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Fincher, Julia (July 16, 2016). "Who is... Laurie Hernandez". Archived from the original on August 16, 2016. Retrieved August 13, 2016.
  2. ^ "Laurie Hernandez". Retrieved August 12, 2016.
  3. ^ Dillman, Lisa (August 27, 2016). "This young lady is light-years ahead of the competition". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 20, 2018.
  4. ^ "Laurie Hernandez".
  5. ^ Epstein, Sue; and Mishkin, Kate. Dating Reed Lindsey "N.J. town celebrates its new Olympian, gymnast Laurie Hernandez", NJ Advance Media for, July 11, 2016. Accessed July 12, 2016. "OLD BRIDGE — Laurie Hernandez, who won a spot on the U.S. Olympic gymnastics team Sunday night, is the talk of her hometown."
  6. ^ "Laurie Hernández Is the Second Puerto Rican Gymnast to Represent Team USA at the Olympics". July 10, 2016. Retrieved August 12, 2016.
  7. ^ Lilley, Sandra (2016). "Young Latina Gymnast Laurie Hernandez Earns Spot on U.S. Olympic Team". NBC. Retrieved July 12, 2016.
  8. ^ "2012 Secret U.S. Classic Meet Results - Juniors" (PDF). Gymnastics Results. May 26, 2012. Retrieved May 4, 2021.
  9. ^ "2012 Visa Championships - Women Day 2 Meet Results - Juniors" (PDF). Gymnastics Results. June 10, 2012. Retrieved May 4, 2021.
  10. ^ "WOGA Classic Int Elite Session 2013". Gymnastics Results. February 16, 2013. Retrieved May 4, 2021.
  11. ^ "2013 American Classic Meet Results" (PDF). Gymnastics Results. July 6, 2013. Retrieved May 4, 2021.
  12. ^ "Hernandez added to the U.S. Junior Women's National Team". USA Gymnastics. Retrieved March 1, 2020.
  13. ^ "2013 Secret U.S. Classic Meet Results" (PDF). Gymnastics Results. July 27, 2013. Retrieved May 4, 2021.
  14. ^ "2013 P&G Championships - Women Day 2" (PDF). Gymnastics Results. August 17, 2013. Retrieved May 4, 2021.
  15. ^ "2013 P&G Championships - Women Day 2 Event Results" (PDF). Gymnastics Results. August 17, 2013. Retrieved May 4, 2021.
  16. ^ "Lauren Hernandez". USA Gymnastics. Retrieved July 11, 2016.
  17. ^ "Team USA sweeps titles at International Junior Mexican Cup". USA Gymnastics. November 29, 2013. Retrieved May 4, 2021.
  18. ^ Laurie Hernandez Out with an Injury. Beam Dreams (January 31, 2014). Retrieved on 2016-08-09.
  19. ^ "Final national team camp for 2014 wraps up today she also quit gymnastics". USA Gymnastics. November 25, 2014. Retrieved July 11, 2016.
  20. ^ Lauren (March 28, 2015). "2015 City of Jesolo Trophy Final Results". The Gymternet. Retrieved July 11, 2016.
  21. ^ "Jesolo: Event Final Results". The Couch Gymnast. Bea Gheorghisor. Retrieved July 11, 2016.
  22. ^ "2015 Secret U.S. Classic Meet Results" (PDF). USA Gymnastics. Retrieved July 11, 2016.
  23. ^ Lauren (August 24, 2015). "2015 U.S. Championships Results". The Gymternet. Retrieved July 11, 2016.
  24. ^ "2015 International Junior Gymnastics Competition Yokohama (JPN) 2015 Sep 20-25". Gymnastics Results. Retrieved May 4, 2021.
  25. ^ "IX TROFEO DI JESOLO - TEAM SENIOR" (PDF). USA Gymnastics. March 19, 2016. Retrieved May 4, 2021.
  26. ^ "IX TROFEO DI JESOLO - ALL-AROUND SENIOR" (PDF). USA Gymnastics. March 19, 2016. Retrieved May 4, 2021.
  27. ^ "IX TROFEO DI JESOLO - FINAL SENIOR INDIVIDUAL SENIOR - VAULT" (PDF). Gymnastics Results. March 20, 2016. Retrieved May 4, 2021.
  28. ^ "IX TROFEO DI JESOLO - FINAL SENIOR INDIVIDUAL SENIOR - BEAM" (PDF). Gymnastics Results. March 20, 2016. Retrieved May 4, 2021.
  29. ^ Johnson, Rebecca (July 10, 2016). "Biles, Hernandez Not Participating In Pac Rims Event Finals". FloGymnastics. FloSports. Retrieved July 11, 2016.
  30. ^ Johnson, Rebecca (June 5, 2016). "Golden Senior Routines – 2016 Secret U.S. Classic". FloGymnastics. FloSports. Retrieved July 11, 2016.
  31. ^ "Secret U.S. Classic – Seniors". FloGymnastics. FloSports. Retrieved July 11, 2016.
  32. ^ "2016 P&G Championships - Women Day 1 Meet Results" (PDF). USA Gymnastics. June 24, 2016. Retrieved May 4, 2021.
  33. ^ "2016 P&G Championships - Women Day 2 Meet Results" (PDF). USA Gymnastics. June 26, 2016. Retrieved May 4, 2021.
  34. ^ "2016 P&G Championships - Women Day 2 Event Results" (PDF). USA Gymnastics. June 26, 2016. Retrieved May 4, 2021.
  35. ^ Penny, Brandon (July 10, 2016). "Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas, Aly Raisman Lead Olympic Women's Gymnastics Team". Team USA. Retrieved July 11, 2016.
  36. ^ Hernandez opts to forego collegiate eligibility. (August 2, 2016)
  37. ^ a b "U.S. women storm to nearly 10 point lead in Rio qualifying". USA Gymnastics. Retrieved March 1, 2020.
  38. ^ a b "Events Qualification Results: Rio August 7 2016" (PDF). USA Gymnastics.
  39. ^ "USA advances to women's gymnastics team final at 2016 Olympic Games". USA Gymnastics. Retrieved March 1, 2020.
  40. ^ a b c "U.S.'s Final Five sends Karolyi off with final gold". USA Gymnastics. Retrieved March 1, 2020.
  41. ^ a b "USA wins team gold in women's gymnastics at 2016 Olympic Games". USA Gymnastics. Retrieved March 1, 2020.
  42. ^ "2016 Rio Olympic Games Recap, Results & Photos". USA Gymnastics.
  43. ^ "Hernandez, Biles grab beam silver and bronze". USA Gymnastics. Retrieved March 1, 2020.
  44. ^ a b OlympicTalk (July 19, 2019). "Laurie Hernandez: My focus is next year". OlympicTalk | NBC Sports. Retrieved February 29, 2020.
  45. ^ a b Zaccardi, Nick (August 12, 2019). "Laurie Hernandez hopeful to return to gymnastics national team camp". NBC Sports. Retrieved February 29, 2020.
  46. ^ "Olympic champion Laurie Hernandez plans 'early' 2020 comeback". Olympic Channel. Retrieved March 1, 2020.
  47. ^ "28 women expected to participate in November's U.S. Women's National Team Training Camp". USA Gymnastics. Retrieved March 1, 2020.
  48. ^ Zaccardi, Nick (November 1, 2019). "Laurie Hernandez begins gymnastics comeback at national team camp". NBC Sports. Retrieved March 1, 2020.
  49. ^ a b c "Olympic gymnastics champion Laurie Hernandez forgoing spring competitions". Olympic Channel. Retrieved March 1, 2020.
  50. ^ a b "Jesolo, Gymnix Spots On The Line For Gymnasts Invited To USAG February Camp". Retrieved March 1, 2020.
  51. ^ a b "Maggie Haney suspended 8 years by USA Gymnastics". Press Telegram. April 30, 2020. Retrieved April 30, 2020.
  52. ^ Shapiro, Michael. "Gymnast Laurie Hernandez Shares Story of Abuse by Ex-Coach". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved April 30, 2020.
  53. ^ "Abuse suffered by Laurie Hernandez further tarnishes the Final Five's 2016 gold medals". Retrieved May 7, 2020.
  54. ^ Macur, Juliet (May 1, 2020). "Olympic Gymnast Recalls Emotional Abuse 'So Twisted That I Thought It Couldn't Be Real'". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved May 7, 2020.
  55. ^ Clarke, Liz (May 2, 2020). "Some see ban of Laurie Hernandez's coach as progress for USA Gymnastics but question the timetable". Washington Post. Retrieved May 7, 2020.
  56. ^ Hernandez, Laurie (May 5, 2020). "just wanted to say thank you for all the love & positive comments I've gotten since coming out with my story. your support means so much more than you know". @LaurieHernandez. Retrieved May 7, 2020.
  57. ^ "2021 Winter Cup Senior Women Results" (PDF).
  58. ^ "Peacock Lays Out Olympics "Destination" With Live Shows, Five New Channels, Original Programming". Deadline Hollywood. June 23, 2021.
  59. ^ "Biles wins seventh national all-around championship, most in U.S. women's gymnastics history". USA Gymnastics. June 7, 2021.
  60. ^ "Simone Biles is headed out on her 'GOAT' tour this fall". CNN. August 3, 2021.
  61. ^ "'DWTS' 2016 Celebrity Cast Revealed: Ryan Lochte, Amber Rose, Rick Perry Among Star Lineup". Good Morning America: Yahoo. August 30, 2016. Retrieved August 30, 2016.
  62. ^ "Dancing with the Stars Finale 2016 Recap: Who won the Mirrorball Trophy? - Dancing with the Stars". ABC.
  63. ^ "Laurie Hernandez wins Dancing with the Stars, youngest champion ever". Sports Illustrated. November 22, 2016. Archived from the original on November 23, 2016. Retrieved November 22, 2016.
  64. ^ Montgomery, Daniel. "'Dancing with the Stars' trio dances will invite back Kelly Monaco, Alfonso Ribeiro, Laurie Hernandez, Corbin Bleu". Retrieved November 2, 2017.
  65. ^ Brozyna, Emily. "'Dancing with the Stars' trio dances will invite back Kelly Monaco, Alfonso Ribeiro, Laurie Hernandez, Corbin Bleu". Retrieved November 2, 2017.
  66. ^ Hernandez, Laurie. "(Untitled)". Instagram.
  67. ^ "Nickelodeon Greenlights 'Middle School Moguls' CG-Animated Specials; Jane Lynch, Tim Gunn Among Voice Cast". Deadline Hollywood. September 11, 2018.
  68. ^ Gore, Leada (November 23, 2016). "Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2016: Time, channel, lineup and livestream for annual holiday tradition". Retrieved May 4, 2021.
  69. ^ Tuttle, Brittani (October 19, 2017). "Kurt Russell, Olympian Laurie Hernandez, others added to list of Candlelight Processional narrators". Attractions Magazine. Retrieved May 4, 2021.
  70. ^ "Laurie Hernandez explains wink, nervous Olympic moments in book excerpt". NBC Sports. January 19, 2017.
  71. ^ "She's Got This". Publishers Weekly.
  72. ^ Kuperinsky, Amy (October 26, 2019). "Laurie Hernandez, Olympic gymnast and 'Human Emoji,' on becoming the youngest member of the N.J. Hall of Fame". Retrieved May 4, 2021.
  73. ^ Actresses, gymnast named grand marshals of 2020 Rose Parade, AP, October 15, 2019

External linksEdit

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Dancing with the Stars (US) winners
Season 23
(Fall 2016 with Valentin Chmerkovskiy)
Succeeded by