After an Inspiring Comeback, Gymnast Laurie Hernandez Won't Be Heading to Tokyo
We know you're finalizing your women's gymnastics team predictions for the Olympics, and though Laurie Hernandez officially returned to the sport in the fall of 2018 after a two-year break, she won't be heading to Tokyo this summer. Hernandez injured her left knee at the 2021 US Gymnastics Championships earlier this month, and she did not petition to move onto the Olympic Trials that start June 25 for the women, according to USA Today.
Hernandez was part of Rio's "Final Five" along with Aly Raisman, Simone Biles, Madison Kocian, and Gabby Douglas. She received a gold medal in the team competition and a silver on beam. This year, four gymnasts will be chosen for the team, which is one of the reasons the Rio group dubbed themselves the "Final Five" (the US is allowed to bring two additional gymnasts as individuals in 2021, and Jade Carey has clinched one of those spots). Every athlete representing Team USA in Tokyo for gymnastics will be announced at the conclusion of night two of trials.
When POPSUGAR last spoke to Hernandez in March, she shared that the pandemic "shook things up a bit," but that it let her train routine upgrades that she wouldn't have been able to train otherwise. Then, she made her competition debut at February's Winter Cup. Though she performed watered-down routines, she seemed excited about the competitions to come and was decked out in Marvel-inspired leotards this season. Unfortunately, her plan didn't work out as expected when she got injured at nationals.
"Things like this happen, unfortunately, to a lot of people and it's not just in the gymnastics world. It's many sports, it's many jobs and hobbies," Hernandez told USA Today. "Sometimes things just happen and it's really, really irritating. So it was a reminder that this second time around was purely just for me."
What's next for Hernandez? The 21-year-old told USA Today that she wants to study acting in college, and she has started applying to schools such as Carnegie-Mellon, Columbia, Northwestern, and Southern California. NYU is her first choice. She's spoken to POPSUGAR about her mental health journey as well, stating that she's finally learning to accept rough patches she's going through and to practice more compassion moving forward.
The Paris Olympics are three years away, but it doesn't seem likely that Hernandez will aim for a ticket. However, she's not completely done with gymnastics as of now — she'll be participating in the Gold Over America Tour with Simone Biles, Jordan Chiles, Katelyn Ohashi, and others this fall. We wish her the best of luck in her future endeavors!