Share Share: June 9, 2016 Olympian in the making: Laurie Hernandez She's been homeschooled since third grade so she can dedicate herself to her gymnastics training. Artistic gymnast Laurie Hernandez was born in New Brunswick, N.J. on June 9th, 2000. Hernandez turned 16 in 2016, making her age-eligible for the Rio Olympics. Hernandez started gymnastics classes at 5 years old. She says her favorite thing about the sport is “the feeling of flying.” Hernandez’s grandparents are from Puerto Rico. Her sister nicknamed her “Monkey” because of Hernandez’s gymnastics talents. Hernandez has trained with Maggie Haney at the MG Elite gym since she was 6 years old. She’s been homeschooled since third grade so she can dedicate herself to her gymnastics training. 2015 was her last year as a junior gymnast (competing against other gymnasts age 15 or younger). She dominated the junior competition in 2015, going undefeated in the all-around all year. At the 2015 P&G Championships, Hernandez won five medals, including all-around gold. She’s known for her expressive dancing, earning the nicknames “Human Emoji” and “Baby Shakira.” At her first senior competition in 2016, the City of Jesolo Trophy, Hernandez placed third in the all-around, first on balance beam and second on vault. She says her motto is, “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.” Born in 2000, gymnast Laurie Hernandez could be one of the youngest members of Team USA in Rio.