Born in 2000, Laurie Hernandez turned 16 just months before the Rio Olympics—making her eligible for the Olympic team the same year she makes her debut into senior elite competition. The Old Bridge, New Jersey, native went undefeated in junior division all-arounds in 2015, winning four straight gold medals at international meets the City of Jesolo Trophy and International Junior Japan Meet, and domestic meets Secret U.S. Classic and P&G Gymnastics Championships. At nationals in 2015, Hernandez also claimed medals in all four event finals: gold on uneven bars, silver on floor, and bronze on vault and balance beam. Hernandez’s signature event is the floor exercise, where her early ballet training and sassy attitude earn her high scores and big cheers. In her senior debut at the 2016 City of Jesolo Trophy, Hernandez shared the podium with Gabby Douglas when she finished third in the all-around.
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