Artistic Gymnastics

Olympic champion Laurie Hernandez will return to gymnastics competition next month

The gold medallist confirmed she will compete for the first time since Rio 2016

By Scott Bregman ·

U.S. gymnast and Olympic champion Laurie Hernandez is set to return to competition next month at the Winter Cup, scheduled for 26-28 February in Indianapolis.

Hernandez first tweeted that the Winter Cup would be her first event in nearly five years and her agent later confirmed her participation to NBC Olympic Talk. The last time Hernandez competed she helped Team USA win its second-straight Olympic team gold medal at Rio 2016. She later added an individual silver medal on the balance beam.

The 20-year-old took two years off following Rio but returned to training in late 2018, moving from her New Jersey home to train with Jenny Zhang and Howie Liang, coaches of 2012 Olympic champion Kyla Ross.

“I know a lot of people are kind of panicking because it's a late comeback,” Hernandez told Olympic Channel in a January 2020 interview. “But for me, like this is my story. This is just how it worked out, and I think the timeline is perfect.”

Then, Olympic postponement offered her more time: “I now have another year which I can go back and take the time to upgrade and add some skills that maybe I’ve never competed before."

Hernandez, who frequently posts updates of her training on her social media, appears to have taken advantage of the extra year showing videos of some of her most difficult elements from Rio including a double layout on the floor exercise and Yurchenko double twist on vault.

Other gymnastics stars including 2017 World all-around champion Morgan Hurd and 2008 Olympic silver medallist Chellsie Memmel have indicated they are also targeting the Winter Cup. If Memmel, who is recovering from an ankle injury, competes, it will be her first competition since 2012. Four-time Olympic gold medallist Simone Biles is not expected to compete until May 2021.

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