Latina Gymnast Laurie Hernández Tells in a Book How to be a Gold Medallist
Not many Latino women can say they won a gold medal in their first Olympic Games. But Laurie Hernández, a 16-year-old gymnast born in a Puerto Rican family from New Jersey, did it. Five months after the US team won the gold in Rio Olympic Games Laurie comes out with a book to explain her fans the secret of her success.
In her new book, I Got This: To Gold and Beyond explains how her life took a dramatic turn last summer when she was chosen to be a part of the 2016 US Olympic gymnastics team. After winning gold in Rio as part of the Final Five, Laurie also earned an individual silver medal for her performance on the balance beam. Nicknamed “the Human Emoji” for her wide-eyed and animated expressions, Laurie continued to dance her way into everyone’s hearts while competing on the hit reality TV show Dancing with the Stars, where she was the youngest-ever winner of the Mirrorball Trophy.
"So, basically, I was a little bit nervous before competing beam at the Olympics, and I had this nervous thing to just talk to myself, like 'You can do it, you can do it'. And right before I hopped up there, I said 'I got this'," she explained to Latina during a book presentation, last January.
Prior to qualifying for the Olympics, the gymnast explains that she was extra nervous and overwhelmed by trials and competing in the Games. "Before Olympic trials, we went out to eat and I had a little breakdown because practice was really rough and my routines weren't coming the way I wanted them to," she explained. "And this poor waitress just kept bringing over piles and piles of tissues. And while we were leaving, my sister told my dad that she was going to save the tissues and give them to her when she make the team."
This “tissue story” is one of Laurie’s favorite parts of her new book. Written as a memoir, the Latina athlete hopes it will inspire children and adults to not only go for their dreams but appreciate and lean on their support system, reported The North Jersey.
“When I felt like I couldn’t do it by myself, I had my family there with me,” she said during a book presentation in N.J. “They were always there saying ‘You can do it’ and ‘We believe in you.’ To have that support, it’s the extra piece. You realize you can’t do anything without the support of family and friends.”
Hernandez started gymnastics at age 5 and discovered her talent and Olympic dream by 7. To achieve her dream, Hernandez sacrificed a lot of the typical childhood things, like going to a normal school, but she also made time for the things she likes:
“I love to go shopping, I love to do nails, all the girly stuff,” she said to The North Jersey. . “I‘d do that with my mom and my sister. And when I was home I’d always do movie night with my family. It was the little things that I was always kind of looking for.”