Laurie Hernandez, a member of the gold medal-winning 2016 U.S. Olympic Women’s Artistic Gymnastics Team, is planning an event to be held in December in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
The Laurie Hernandez Champions Challenge is open to gymnastic teams across the nation. There is a form allowing teams to apply to hold the qualifier meets, with a deadline of March 21st.
At each qualifier, the Top 2 all-around winners of each level or division plus a “Judge’s Choice” will qualify to participate in The Laurie Hernandez Champions Challenge in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
The final qualifier meet for the Challenge is the Puerto Rico Classic.
Benefits to Puerto Rico
A portion of the proceeds from the event will benefit Puerto Rico and the Puerto Rico Gymnastics Federation, according to the Puerto Rico Classic website. The event will take place at the Puerto Rico Convention Center, and the website will be showing hotels and excursions. The event is encouraging gymnastics centers to bring their entire teams to the Island, and offering help with fundraising.
The event could bring tourist dollars to the Island.
Hernandez was the first U.S.-born Latina to make the U.S. Olympic Women’s Artistic Gymnastics Team. She also won an individual silver medal for balance beam work at the Rio Olympics in 2016. She went on to win the Mirrorball Trophy on “Dancing with the Stars.”
She wrote a memoir and a children’s book before returning to gymnastics.
Hernandez describes herself as “a second generation American. My grandparents are from Puerto Rico.” In fact, her grandparents are also Americans — U.S. citizens, in fact. Everyone born in Puerto Rico since 1917 has been a U.S. citizen.
Hernandez, like many other Americans, seems to be confused about this. Nonetheless, her Puerto Rican heritage is important to her. “Being Puerto Rican is something my family and I hold with pride,” she wrote on Instagram, “and I couldn’t be more excited to bring this meet to San Juan.”