Laurie Hernandez

Laurie Hernandez begins gymnastics comeback at national team camp

Leave a comment

Laurie Hernandez‘s comeback will become official in two weeks when she participates in a USA Gymnastics national team camp for the first time since she last competed at the Rio Olympics.

Hernandez’s agent, plus USA Gymnastics high-performance team coordinator Tom Forster confirmed this week that Hernandez accepted an invitation to the camp in Sarasota, Fla.

Hernandez, a Rio Olympic team gold medalist and balance beam silver medalist, said in August that she hoped to attend the November camp and return to competition in early 2020. She alluded to the November camp in a tweet last week. She has said she hopes to make the Tokyo Olympic team.

“If she can do what she did then [in 2016], she would be in the mix,” Forster said.

Forster described the camp as an offseason, working camp. Gymnasts won’t have to demonstrate full routines. Rather, their hardest tumbling pass, a vault and a couple of skill sequences on balance beam and uneven bars.

“Coaches share with us plans on skills and routines for next year, and we help them,” Forster said. “That’s part of the camp, and that’s why Laurie wants to be there. It gets her and her coaches exposed to current rules and trends.”

Forster said he did not request Hernandez to submit training videos to show readiness to be invited to camp. Her showing up to the U.S. Championships in August as a spectator, and conversing with him, and being an Olympic medalist, was enough. Hernandez said then that she hoped to compete in early 2020, but Forster said nothing has been set yet.

She is not a national team member (yet), and Simone Biles and others from last month’s world championships team are excused from this camp.

“She’s very aware of what the skill level is that she’s going to be competing against,” Forster said. “If she says she’s ready to come to camp, I know she knows what she’s up against as far as what skills people are doing.”

Hernandez, a 19-year-old New Jersey native, returned to training about one year ago at a new California gym with new coaches after two years off.

In the last Olympic cycle, Gabby Douglas and Aly Raisman took breaks, but they returned earlier than Hernandez, competing again more than a year before the Rio Games. They both made the five-woman team for Rio.

But previous comebacks did not work out. 2008 Olympians Nastia LiukinShawn JohnsonAlicia SacramoneChellsie Memmel and Bridget Sloan all attempted to make the 2012 team but, for various reasons, did not make the cut.

Hernandez faces this different situation: Olympic team-event sizes drop from five gymnasts in 2012 and 2016 to four in 2020, putting a greater emphasis on gymnasts who can perform well on all four apparatuses.

The U.S. can also qualify up to two more gymnasts for individual Olympic events only. Jade Carey appears on her way to locking up one of those spots. The other spot, which would be up to a USA Gymnastics committee to dole out, will likely go to a gymnast who is strong on multiple events in case she needs to be called up for the four-woman team event in case of an injury.

VIDEO: Oksana Chusovitina says 8th Olympics will be her final Games

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

[twitter-follow screen_name=’nzaccardi’ show_count=’yes’ text_color=’00ccff’]

Laurie Hernandez hopeful to return to gymnastics national team camp

Leave a comment

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Laurie Hernandez, who still plans to return to gymnastics competition in early 2020, is hopeful to start that process in November by attending her first national team camp in three years.

Hernandez, a Rio Olympic team champion and balance beam silver medalist, returned to training 10 months ago at a new gym with new coaches after two years off.

“I’m really proud of the progress we’ve made,” Hernandez said Saturday while attending the U.S. Championships as a spectator, noting she’s training five hours per day and six days per week. “I do think it’s realistic to be able to compete next year and do well. … Making the Olympic team, that’s definitely why I’m coming back.”

Hernandez is not guaranteed to be part of the November national team camp even if she wants to. Hernandez has not spoken with U.S. high-performance coordinator Tom Forster, but said her coaches have.

Gymnasts not on the national team must request an invite to a camp, usually through a process that involves submitting training videos of routines for review.

Hernandez’s Olympic bid would be an Everest-like climb. She would be returning a year later than Aly Raisman and Gabby Douglas did in the last Olympic cycle, when they successfully returned from breaks to become the first U.S. female gymnasts to make multiple Olympic teams since 2000.

Moreover, the Olympic team-event size drops from five gymnasts in 2012 and 2016 to four in 2020, putting a greater emphasis on gymnasts who can perform well on all four apparatuses.

VIDEO: Gymnast saves high bar routine with one-handed catch

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

[twitter-follow screen_name=’nzaccardi’ show_count=’yes’ text_color=’00ccff’]

Laurie Hernandez: My focus is next year

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Laurie Hernandez will not return to gymnastics competition this summer for the first time since the Rio Olympics, as she had hoped.

Hernandez, who said last August that she wanted to compete in 2019 but needed to find a coach and a gym first, did not enter Saturday’s U.S. Classic, a meet required for her to be eligible for the national championships in August.

“We want to go out there when we’re completely ready,” Hernandez said last month while promoting Alcon’s “Eye Can, Eye Will” campaign, when she said she had not yet decided on whether to compete this summer. “Our focus is definitely early next year.”

USA Gymnastics rules dictate that any gymnast who has not competed in the last two years, nor attended a national team camp, must compete at Saturday’s meet to be eligible for nationals.

Hernandez said she has trained since October at Gym-Max in California, the former gym of 2012 Olympian Kyla Ross. Hernandez trained in her native New Jersey through the Rio Games.

Hernandez repeated over the last year that she’s hoping to join 2016 Olympic champion teammate Simone Biles in a Tokyo 2020 bid. Other Final Five members Aly Raisman and Gabby Douglas neither competed since Rio nor shown any signs of a return.

The fifth member of the team, Madison Kocian, retired from elite gymnastics but does compete collegiately for UCLA.

In their absences, Biles continued to stand alone in her comeback last year. Morgan Hurd, the 2017 World all-around champion during Biles’ break, Riley McCusker and Jade Carey have also established themselves as strong candidates for the Olympics.

MORE: USA Gymnastics revamps Safe Sport policy amid abuse scandal

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

[twitter-follow screen_name=’nbcolympictalk’ show_count=’yes’ text_color=’00ccff’]