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I follow Laurie Hernandez on social media, and recently I saw that she has a new book out. I looked it up, and found out that it was a new edition of her previous book, I Got This. I’ve always loved watching Laurie compete, so I was intrigued by her book. Is she always as happy and good-natured as she seems? I was excited to learn more about Laurie, her training, and in the new book, her comeback.
I ordered the book and learned a lot about Laurie, both as an athlete and as a person.
One theme that is persistent throughout the book is her close knit family. She talks repeatedly about how supportive her parents and siblings were of her gymnastics. Her family was especially helpful during times when she was discouraged, and they helped her to maintain her focus. She reports some of her happiest times as times she spent with her family, as well as family life events such as her sister’s wedding.
Laurie also talks about how proud she is of her Latina heritage, and that she is one of just a few Olympians with Latin American roots.
Beginnings in Gymnastics
Laurie recalls some of her early competitions, and that she did not always get high scores on all of the events. Success on floor came early, though, and it will come as no surprise that floor has always been her favorite event. Floor is her favorite because she loves the music, and the music allows her to express herself and show off her bubbly personality.
She suffered a couple of injuries as a junior gymnast – a wrist fracture, and a big knee surgery right after recovering from the wrist fracture. Then, right before Olympic Trials, she suffered a knee strain and wasn’t sure if she would be ready in time. I didn’t know about all of her injuries before I read her book! It’s funny how watching a gymnast on TV makes you feel like you know them, but there are always parts of their story that might surprise you. She talks about her recovery from injuries, and how difficult it was physically and mentally. It’s refreshing to hear that even Olympic gymnasts have struggles on their way to the top.
One thing that I thought was great about Laurie was her mutual respect for her competitors. She talks about how she always makes a point to congratulate competitors, even if they have beaten her in the competition. It takes a lot of character to be gracious even after a loss!
We also learn where her saying “I got this” came from. Originally her teammates said “You got this” when she was about to perform, and it helped her to do her best in training and competition. Later, when she trained by herself, she started to say “I got this” to herself, in order to keep motivated. At the Olympics, she became known for visibly saying “I got this” before her beam routine.
The first thing that struck me as Laurie started to talk about the Olympic Trials, and eventually, the Olympics, was the great relationships between all of the gymnasts on the National Team. It was heartwarming to read about how supportive they all were of each other, particularly during the stressful time leading up to the Olympic Trials. We also find out what Laurie loves about each member of the Final Five, and how much she values all of those friendships.
She also talks, of course, about the team’s performances and their individual performances during the Olympics. She remembers being nervous only a couple of times. She was grateful that her parents could come to see her at the Olympics, and loved sharing those moments with them. And we learn about the Final Five team name, and how it came about.
Beyond the Olympics
After the Olympics, Laurie had many opportunities and sponsors courting her. She shares her experiences on Dancing With the Stars, visiting the White House, and taking part in the post-Olympic tour. She talks about some of the sponsorships she took on, and how she only works with brands that share her values. It is very important to her to be authentic as an influencer, and she is careful to maintain that authenticity on the internet and in public appearances.
This new edition of the book also reveals the news of Laurie’s comeback. She talks about her new gym and the happy, positive training environment. This time around, she mentions that training feels different because she is older. She trusts herself and knows herself better. It’s easy to tell that she is incredibly happy to be doing gymnastics again. And now that the Olympics have been postponed, she has a little extra training time to get back into competitive shape!
Life Lessons Learned
The book conveys this message to the reader: “you win whenever you commit to something, because you can’t experience growth without even trying.” There is a discussion about goal setting, weighing the pros and cons of a decision, and committing to a goal. The dedication necessary to become an Olympic gymnast is evident in Laurie’s goal setting advice.
Another quote that I loved from the book is, “It’s never too late to do something you’ve always wanted to do.” It’s ironic that someone so young has this wisdom, but Laurie notes that even people in their late teens and twenties feel the pressure to have already achieved big things in their life. This advice is on point, because most of us have many years ahead of us in which to accomplish goals and experience new things in life.
I Got This was a fun book to read, and it showcased Laurie Hernandez’ personality through her experiences leading up to and after the Olympic Games. It is inspirational, particularly to younger readers or those striving for a big goal in their lives. And her nickname “The Human Emoji” is part of the book too – check it out and see how she incorporates it!
If you’re interested in reading Laurie’s book, you can check it out here. Happy reading!