Get to know U.S. gymnast Laurie Hernandez, who will make her Olympic debut in Rio.
Laurie Hernandez was born on June 9, 2000, in New Brunswick, New Jersey.
The 16-year-old is the first American-born Latina to qualify for the U.S. women's gymnastics Olympic team since 1984 when Tracee Talavera competed in Los Angeles.
Hernandez earned the all-around bronze and finished third in the uneven bars, balance beam and floor exercise at the 2016 P&G Championships in St. Louis.
Hernandez's parents started her in dance classes from a young age, but she wasn't interested -- they bribed her with cookies to get her there. Despite her lack of interest in dance, Hernandez took what she learned in those classes to gymnastics at age 5 after being drawn to the sport by a competition on TV. To this day, Hernandez says floor is her favorite event.
Injuries kept Hernandez out of competition for all of 2014, but that didn't hold her back. In 2015, she was undefeated in all four competitions in the all-around, and at the national championships she medaled in all four events: gold on uneven bars, silver on floor exercise and bronzes on vault and balance beam.
Hernandez and fellow national team members Jazmyn Foberg and Riley McCusker all compete for MG Elite.
Hernandez lists "Friends" as her favorite TV show on the USA Gymnastics website. The long-running series had completed its sixth season by the time she was born.
Hernandez earned the nickname "Baby Shakira" from Jessica O'Beirne of the gymnastics podcast Gymcastic when she appeared on the show in 2013. "You lit up the whole room. It was like, when you were on the floor, it was like Beyonce and Michael Jackson and Shakira all showed up at once and started doing gymnastics," O'Beirne said.
Hernandez, who lives in Old Bridge, New Jersey, has been homeschooled since third grade. Hernandez had verbally committed to the University of Florida before deciding to turn pro just days before the Rio Olympics.