PHOENIX - At just 16 years old, Laurie Hernandez became a role model for a nation of young kids at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
“I think it's really important that we inspire the Millennials and our younger generations to know it doesn't matter who you are or what color you are. You have the ability to achieve anything you put your mind to,” Hernandez said, speaking at the 2017 National Council of La Raza in Phoenix on Monday.
No one knows that better than Olympic gold medalist Laurie Hernandez. The 17-year-old gymnast was the first American-born Latina in 30 years to represent the U.S. in Olympic gymnastics. She won a team gold medal and a silver medal in the balance beam in the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
“Yes, it took a lot of hard work and dedication to get where I got but it took a village,” Hernandez told the audience at the Phoenix Convention Center.
Hernandez said the support from family and friends is what helped her achieve her dream of winning gold. She's taken a break from Olympic training right now but still has a lot on her plate.
“My life is a little hectic now. It's a lot of traveling and a lot of motivational speaking. A lot of speaking with kids. A lot of working with kids All age groups. I do a lot of traveling. It's a lot of fun. I get to meet a lot of new people, which is great,” said Hernandez.
Hernandez plans to start her Olympic training at the end of the summer with her sights set on the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
From Olympic gold to motivational speaking. Hernandez is using the spotlight to inspire and strengthen the Hispanic community.
“I think it's really important that we boost up our community. We need to show everybody were as strong as everybody else,” said Hernandez.