Laurie Hernandez sets first gymnastics meet in 4 1/2 years

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Laurie Hernandez plans to compete for the first time since the Rio Olympics at the Winter Cup in Indianapolis the last weekend of February.

Hernandez’s agent confirmed the plan after it was tweeted from the gymnast’s account Tuesday night.

Hernandez took gold in the team event and silver on the balance beam as the youngest U.S. female Olympian across all sports in Rio at age 16.

She took a break from competition after the Games, won “Dancing with the Stars,” moved from New Jersey to Los Angeles and began her comeback in earnest in 2019, returning to her first U.S. national team camp that November.

She planned to return to competition in spring 2020, before the pandemic halted sports and postponed the Olympics to 2021.

“It’s definitely really helpful, I’m not gonna lie,” Hernandez said in July. “The extra year actually gives me a lot more time to train and add some upgrades and maybe get a little more consistent on things that I wasn’t too sure about for this year.”

Hernandez might not be the only Olympian signaling a competitive comeback at Winter Cup.

Chellsie Memmel, a Beijing 2008 silver medalist who last competed in 2012, said in a video posted to her YouTube channel last week that she “would love” to be at Winter Cup but didn’t know if she would be ready coming back from an ankle injury.

Memmel said if she’s not ready for Winter Cup, she’s targeting a training camp in March.

Hernandez is targeting one of five available U.S. Olympic women’s gymnastics spots to be filled later this spring (a sixth is already taken by Jade Carey).

Memmel, a 32-year-old mother of two, hasn’t publicly committed to an Olympic bid.

Simone Biles is not expected to compete at Winter Cup. Her next competition — and first since October 2019 — is slated to be a World Cup in Tokyo in May.

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