NEW YORK — Unlike Simone Biles and Aly Raisman, Laurie Hernandez does not know if she’ll be competing in 2017.
Hernandez is about to embark on a “Dancing with the Stars” tour, which runs into mid-February and means she won’t be able to return for the biggest event of the first half of 2017, the American Cup on March 4 in her home state of New Jersey.
“It is so exciting to be able to do the Olympics and be able to do all the activities afterwards, but at the same time gymnastics is still a sport that’s in my heart,” Hernandez said at the CNN Heroes event in Manhattan on Sunday night.
Hernandez shrugged when asked if she plans to compete at the P&G Championships from Aug. 17-20 in Anaheim, Calif.
“I do plan on coming back, just because I love the sport dearly, but at the same time I am taking it day by day,” she said.
If Hernandez competes in 2017, she would instantly become a threat for the world all-around title, to be contested in early fall in Montreal. Hernandez missed out on the chance to compete in the all-around at the Rio Olympics, as Biles, Raisman and Gabby Douglas got the three U.S. spots in qualifying.
“I’ve never been to worlds, but at the same time, I know that aside from the Olympics, worlds is the biggest gymnastics competition,” said Hernandez, who won team gold and balance beam silver in Rio as the youngest member of the U.S. team at age 16. “So, I feel like, if I were able to medal in that competition, in the all-around, that would mean the world to me.”
In the last three months, Olympic all-around gold and silver medalists Biles and Raisman said they would take all of 2017 off.
Douglas, the 2012 Olympic all-around champion, hasn’t said if or when she will return to competition.
Fellow Olympic and/or world championships team members Madison Kocian, Maggie Nichols and MyKayla Skinner are all starting NCAA careers and, at least temporarily, leaving elite gymnastics behind.
Ragan Smith was the only woman who finished in the top 11 in the Olympic Trials all-around who attended a recent national team camp.
Smith placed fifth at Olympic Trials and was one of three Olympic team alternates.Follow @nzaccardi