Olympian Helping Raise Funds For Tulsa's Aim High Academy
TULSA, Oklahoma - One of the world's best gymnasts is in Tulsa to help raise money for a local gym destroyed two years ago by a tornado.
Laurie Hernandez is a 2016 Gold and Silver medal Olympian, and Thursday night, she was the guest speaker for Aim High Academy's biggest fundraiser of the year at The Church at BattleCreek.
Before she took the stage to speak, Hernandez met with all the Aim High gymnasts and was greeted with screams and big smiles.
There were even selfies, hugs and autographs.
“I took a picture with her and I talked to her a little bit,” said Aim High Academy gymnast Jordyn Payne. “I started crying…I got so excited I started to cry.”
Hernandez even helped coach some of the girls.
“It's very, very inspiring,” gymnast Sheridan Ramsey said.
Hernandez is one of the biggest names in the sport and an idol to the gymnasts.
She won gold and silver medals in the 2016 summer Olympics then went on to win a season of Dancing with the Stars - she was 16 at the time.
“Here I am, just doing the things that I love, not realizing how many people are watching and how many people I'm affecting,” Hernandez said.
And she loves new her role as a role model. After all, she's only 17, so it wasn't that long ago Hernandez was just like the athletes at Aim High - a gymnast with a dream.
“I take it as a really big responsibility to be kind and make sure that these kids are having a great day,” she said.
Hernandez admits chasing a dream can be scary, but says when you look fear the face anything is possible.
“That feeling of being able to overcome something you're afraid of just gives you this big, happy and confident feeling, and you feel like you can move forward, so just kind of go for it,” she said.
Aim High Academy provides affordable gymnastic classes to Tulsa area children. Its mission is to provide affordable, faith-based gymnastic classes to children in all parts of the city.
The gym has a new location but wants to add campuses in other parts of town so it continues to raise money.
You can find more information on its website.