If Maggie Haney is in the car by seven in the morning, her 7-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son all buckled in, she can get to Hernandez’s home in Old Bridge, New Jersey, by 7:30.
She knew that the young girl was really good, and that she picked up new skills really quickly — so quickly, in fact, that Haney began worrying she was stalling her progress.
Hernandez has made a fantastic case for a spot in the all-around with her performances over the past few months, but Karolyi is known for holding out on these decisions as long as possible in order to better motivate her athletes at pre-Olympic training camp.
Our term is just: break the beam.” Being 16 years old makes it easier, physically and mentally, for Hernandez to do this; she’s young enough that this doesn’t have to be her last shot — this year’s Olympic team has an average age of 19.2 years, up from 16.2 in 2012 — but she and Haney also know that it might be her best one.
She broke the beam, she sealed her ticket to Rio, and she lit up the room the way no one else had.