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Laurie Hernandez Earns Silver on Beam; Biles Bronze

Old Brige native Laurie Hernandez capped off an incredible Olympic games, by winning the silver medal on balance beam, toppling teammate Simone Biles, who finished with bronze; Sanne Wevers of the Netherlands took home gold.

In her only individual event final, Laurie Hernandez put down a nearly perfect routine, earning her a silver medal. Her score of 15.333 came after only a few small wobbles, in what was one of the more perfectly executed routines of the final, on top of being one of the more difficult ones. She finished behind Wevers by only .133 points. After her score was announced, an inquiry was requested to ensure that she retrieved all the points that she should get, but it was rejected.

Biles slipped and struggled to regain balance at one point in her routine, prompting her to lean on the beam for support. In scoring, touching the beam for balance is the exact same as a fall, which doomed her. The rest of her routine had a few wobbles, but was generally clean. A less than perfect dismount sealed the deal, with her finishing with a 14.733.

It was a fantastic Olympics for Hernandez, who was of course part of the women’s team that won the gold earlier in the games. On that team, she competed in three of the four apparatuses, and while she wasn’t selected to participate in the all-around qualifying individually, she did do very well in beam, as well as the floor exercise. She finished fourth in qualifying on floor, only behind teammates Simone Biles and Aly Raisman, which left her out of the final, as only two gymnasts are allowed to compete in each per country. Her performances were even more performances considering that the Olympics were her first ever international competition at the elite level.

It was slightly unfortunate for Hernandez to be on such a deep team, which hindered her from a potentially much larger haul. While they were integral in helping her win team gold, she very well could have medaled on floor and the individual all-around had she been permitted to qualify. The strength of Biles, Raisman, and Gabby Douglas limited what she was capable of accomplishing.

At age 16, it’s possible that Hernandez could try to keep going for the 2020 Olympics, similar to what teammates Raisman and Douglas did after debuting in London four years ago. However, America’s depth will be a challenge to her again, as there will definitely be another large field coming up hoping to dethrone her.

Hernandez also announced during the games that she would turn professional, forgoing her scholarship that she had with the University of Florida. She is obviously trying to cash in on the marketability that comes after her electric performances in the Olympics, obviously gymnastics’ biggest stage. America fell in love with her, especially after seeing her electric floor routine, filled with her trademark attitude. Her vivid smile always seems to be on her face, which has endeared her to fans even more. Her career will be an interesting one to watch, as she can only be going up.

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Dan is a Staff Writer here at with a focus on Team USA and the Rio Olympics
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