U.S. gymnast Morgan Hurd‘s two highlights from the past week:
“Clearly winning,” said the surprise world all-around champion, ” … and clearly getting the tweet from J.K.”
Hurd, the 4 1/2-foot, 16-year-old who competes in glasses, was clearly the standout performer of last week’s world gymnastics championships in Montreal.
Fifth at the U.S. junior championships a year ago — and sixth at this year’s senior nationals (coming off elbow surgery) — Hurd surged to win the most coveted prize in the sport aside from the Olympics.
Word reached Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, who has clearly had an effect on Hurd.
Then came Saturday and Sunday.
Teammate Jade Carey captured Hurd’s reaction to the first congratulatory tweet. Hurd was lying down, receiving treatment ahead of Sunday’s balance beam final.
“I stopped and started bawling,” Hurd said later. “I had tears streaming down my face.”
Hurd had trouble sleeping the last several nights, acknowledging lament in not being able to thank every single person who praised her on social media.
She awoke Sunday to see the second tweet from Rowling call her a hero.
“I started freaking out, but I had to be really quiet because [teammate] Ragan [Smith] was still sleeping,” Hurd said. “I was, like, jumping up and down in my bed.”
Hurd’s love for Rowling’s series about the boy wizard is compounded by the fact she is a rare gymnast who competes while wearing glasses. Very Potter-like.
“I tried contacts,” she said, according to FloGymnastics in May, “but they made my eyeballs dry, and when I got stuff in my eyes, I had to take them out and put them back in.”
Hurd is not the first elite gymnast to go the glasses route. Remember Fabian Hambuechen in Athens?
Hurd was born in China and adopted as a toddler, moving to Delaware. By developmental camps, she acted and looked like an adult, said her coach, Slava Glazounov.
“She would get herself a little cappucino, without the caffeine,” he said Sunday. “She would sit with her leg up and drink the coffee and read the book. And this was a 10-year-old kid. She does the same thing now.”
Hurd, who was born between “The Goblet of Fire” and “The Order of the Phoenix,” has twice taken the Pottermore quiz to determine her Hogwarts House.
Questions include — moon or stars? And would you rather be envied, imitated, trusted, praised, liked or feared?
Hurd was sorted into Ravenclaw — known for intelligence — and then, the second time, Gryffindor — marked by courage and bravery.
“I truly think I’m a Gryffindor because, I mean, I flip on a four-inch piece of wood,” said Hurd, who earned silver in Sunday’s balance beam final. “That’s got to count for something, right?”
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