Olympic champion Laurie Hernandez plans ‘early’ 2020 comeback

The 'Dancing with the Stars' winner resumed training last October and wants to return to competitive gymnastics 

2016 Olympic gold and silver medallist Laurie Hernandez says she’ll make her return to competitive gymnastics in early 2020.

“We want to go out there when we’re completely ready,” the 19-year-old said, according to NBC OlympicTalk. “Our focus is definitely early next year.”

At last year’s U.S. Championships in Boston in August, Hernandez said she was looking to compete in 2019. She returned to full-time training a few months later in October 2018, working with Jenny Zhang and Howie Liang – the coaches that guided Kyla Ross to Olympic gold in London and five world championships medals.

From an early age, Hernandez stood out among a typically shy field of U.S. junior gymnasts with her sparkling personality, beaming smile and ability to rise to the pressure.

That translated into a fan favourite floor routine at the 2016 Olympic Games and instant success after, including her winning run on ‘Dancing with the Stars’ and as a co-host of American Ninja Warrior Junior.

Today, she shares her personality openly on social media, posting about her favourite songs and TV shows (Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), videos from her first-ever hip hop dance class and, of course, updates on gymnastics.

Have a little patience

"The hardest part of returning to training is having the patience to get all your skills back,” Hernandez told the Olympic Channel earlier this year. “You have all that muscle memory of how all your skills are supposed to work but also when you take that time off, it’s like doing bicep curls for so long and then stopping for six months.”

And patience is clearly a virtue paying off for the New Jersey-native, who has shown her progress in the sport over the past nine months. Videos Hernandez has posted on her Instagram include her signature layout step out, layout step out series on the balance beam, an Arabian double on floor exercise and her full-twisting double back dismount off the uneven bars.

“I really like the process of watching my body change and getting really strong,” Hernandez said.

“That’s the best part.”

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