I’m Olympic gymnast Laurie Hernandez, 2016 Gold medal-winning member of the Final Five, two-time NYT Bestselling Author and Dancing with the Stars Champion. AMA!
Hi guys! I’m SO excited to talk with you all today about my journey to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics next year! I won gold with the Final Five at the 2016 Rio Olympics, won Dancing with the Stars, selected to be in the New Jersey Hall of Fame, and am the host of American Ninja Warrior Junior! Follow me on IG @lauriehernandez. Ask me anything, I’m ready. Let’s GO!
I LOVE this question. I'd probably try snowboarding, although I don't think id be very good at it haha.
When do you plan to compete or return to national team camps?
I'm hoping to be at a camp at the end of the year!
Laurie, thanks for doing this AMA! My question for you is: what have you done with your leos from the Olympics? Did you get all of the USA leos, even the ones you didn't wear in competition? I always wonder what happens to them!
We got to keep the leos! They are currently in a safe with my medals. (I think LOL)
How far along are you in your comeback? Are you still just doing individual skills or have you put together routines already?
On beam I'm doing full routines with a soft dismount landing, but as for the other events I'm still perfecting skills!
What kind of meals do you eat while you’re in training (and what’s your favorite cheat day food 😊)?
I just eat clean! I don't go on any specific diet because I've noticed that doesn't work for me. However I do have to eat more than the average person because of how much I burn at practice!
Can you give us any insight on the skills you’re training?
Currently you'll see a lot of familiar skills I've competed before, but my new floor routine is completely different! Still very sassy though :)
Why did to decide to push camps/competing back to 2020 instead of 2019? Are you worried about only getting back to competing in the Olympic year?
We (my coaches and I) want to make sure I am 100% prepared before I compete; even if that means taking extra time. It will definitely be a challenge, but it's one I'm up for! I'm grateful for taking those two years off after Rio as it gave me some time to physically and mentally mature and explore life outside of gymnastics. I'm happy to be back training full time though :)
So cool to meet you here! Best of luck with your gymnastics!
What are your intermediate goals on the way to the Olympics? Some specific skills or competitions?
How different is training the second time around?
Honestly, a big goal for me is to prepare for training camps and hopefully compete early next year! We want to make sure I'm 100% ready when I'm out there. Also training the second time around has been pretty difficult especially with a two year break, but I love gymnastics even more now :)
In addition to trying for Tokyo, what have you been doing since the Olympics? What do you want to do in the future? Stay involved in the sports world and be a host/commentator like you were on Junior ANW or branch off to something different? Thanks for doing an AMA today!!
I've had SO many neat opportunities because of Rio, and all are things I had hoped to be doing even before making the team. As for a post gymnastics career, I would love to be an actress!
In general, what motivates you to stay focused? What do you do for self care?
Staying motivated can be pretty tricky sometimes, and I noticed I cope in different ways depending on how I'm feeling. Some days I think about why I started and the goals I have planned and that's enough to get me going; other days it's my coaches or teammates giving me a pep talk. (fav!) As for self care, I love watching movies or spending time with my friends!
I remember the Final Five getting an incredible amount of media attention during the 2016 Olympics. How difficult is it to deal with that on top of dealing with competing at the highest level of your sport? Does it make it hard to focus on the task at hand, or are you able to ignore it?
Honestly it's taken a bit of time to get used to the attention as I'm a pretty private person; however I think it has died down a bit! I'm sure it'll rise right back up for Tokyo though. Thankfully during practice that's usually not something I think about.
Who does everyone's makeup at the Olympics and Worlds?
We typically do our own! Sometimes we'll get some gymnasts who are AWESOME at eye make up and they'll help a sister out
What has been the hardest thing about coming back? And what is the biggest change that you've made in terms of training?
The hardest part about coming back hasn't been relearning my skills believe it or not. My muscle memory is pretty good! However leaning out and actually getting back those muscles and getting strong again is a whole other story..
If you could go pro in any sport (other than gymnastics) what sport would it be and why?
I think I could be a hurdler because of gymnastics. Maybe not though cause I'm only 5'1'' LOL
Love ya, Laurie!
If you didn't do artistic gymnastics, what other discipline of gymnastics would you do?
Hmm, I feel like I would be a rhythmic gymnast!
If you could totally re-do one competition from your career which one would you choose?
What is your gymnastics 'white whale', or a skill that you've just never been able to master no matter how many times you try?
Love you and actually cannot wait to see you compete later this year. The internet is rooting for you, girl!!!!!!
I don't regret any meets I've done, even the bad ones! They all taught me different lessons and how to compete even when I'm nervous! :)
although championships in 2012 was pretty rough so-
Hi Laurie! I am SUCH A FAN of yours. I admire your attitude and positive outlook on life so much. Would love to hear how you stay so positive? How do you deal with tough moments in the public eye, and stay focused on the bigger picture? Any tips?
Thank you for doing this AMA. *insert cartwheel emoji here*
Thank you so much for the kind words! Staying positive is really something I work on every day; and on the days where I'm being a pessimist that's where my family and friends come in and remind me (respectfully) of all the things I should be grateful for. I do feel that gratefulness is the key to happiness! As for focusing on the bigger picture, I think it's important to have all your goals planned out, but also take things one step at a time. When I'm anxious about it, my mom always says, "You're right where you are supposed to be."
Hi Laurie! What is your current skincare routine? Gym practice seems to give me random breakouts but your skin is always perfect! What’s your secret???
Awh thank you! Even though it might not seem like it, my skin will randomly break out as well. I find washing my face during practice sometimes helps keep it clean!
How did you deal with injuries?
Injuries are tough; in any sport really. Having a good support system and taking that time off to heal is the most important thing.
Training for one olympics can obviously be extremely gruesome and flat-out hard. After having success the first time, what motivates you to try for another one?
I still have a passion for gymnastics and i couldn't imagine my life without it yet! I was only 16 for my first Olympics and figured I have a lot of energy left, why not try for another?
Hi Laurie! Huge gym fan here and proud member of what we online gymnastics fans call the Gymternet. I know you are active on Twitter and I was wondering how much you follow online discussion and tweets about yourself and your own training as well as American and international gymnastics generally. Do you keep up with that stuff or generally try to stay out of it?
Ahh the gymternet! I typically try to stay out of it as it can be overwhelming at times, but more often than not I'm tagged in someone's tweet and I'll see what they write. For the most part, I almost see everything especially if its on my own posts! I'm extremely grateful though, because (for the most part) all the tweets I've seen so far have been so positive and kind and it can give me an extra boost for practice :)
At this point how are you feeling about your comeback? What skills are you most excited that you have back and what are you still working on? Are there going to be any big new skills you are willing to share?
I'm excited and a little nervous! So far beam has been the quickest event to come back. Bars has been the toughest.
What are you most looking forward to at the Olympics next year?
Going back to Japan! I've been able to compete in Yokohama twice for gymnastics, and it would be a huge honor and blessing to go back and make the team for Tokyo. Also, I have a gut feeling this will be the sweetest Olympics yet!
After the 2020 olympics are over, what are your plans for the future? ❤️
I would love to be an actress :) on screen, Broadway, animation, etc.! I've had a love for it ever since I was a little kid
What was the most challenging thing of sudden fame? You were so young and thrust into the global limelight during and after Rio (and you've handled it with such grace!).
Growing and going through puberty in the public eye really wasn't my favorite, but it's died down a bit! I'm sure it'll go back up for the Olympics though.
What was your favorite moment at Rio?
Competing with my teammates was, of course, a favorite moment..
but I also got to meet Usain Bolt!!
How are you adjusting to life in LA? What’s your favorite thing about LA?
LA is definitely different than Jersey... but I am a sucker for palm trees outside of practice! I do miss my NJ diners though...
Are you hoping to come back in the all around, or just on 2/3 events? What do you think you will bring to team USA? (i miss your floor 😭)
That's the goal! And no worries, you should see a floor routine soon :)
Who is one of your biggest inspirations? As an aspiring gymnast, you are one of my biggest inspirations!
My inspirations are consistently changing, but it's typically my family :) Also superheroes, because they're SO cool. Thank you!
What has surprised you through your comeback process?
I didn't know I could love gymnastics more than I did before. I have the sweetest coaches (Jenny and Howie from Gym Max) who make each workout fun and instructive :)
Welcome! If all the Olympic athletes were suddenly told they had to switch from summer to winter games, which events do you think you'd have the best shot at?
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