Gymnastics News: Overshadowed By Olympians, 15-Year-Old Aces With Drastic Win At US National Championships..

June 9, 2024

In a stunning turn of events at the US National Championships, a 15-year-old gymnast captured the nation’s attention with a remarkable victory. Amid a crowd of seasoned Olympians, she has firmly established herself as a rising star in the sport. Hezly Rivera, a WOGA junior, emerged as a dark horse after her performance. She had a knockout season in what NBC Sports is calling a “show out.” Rivera’s performance to Pentatonix’s song “Carol of the Bells” received cheers and salutations from the crowd present in the stadium.But most importantly, her perfect execution earned a hug from her coach, Liukin, and the relief of her nervous father. As she qualifies for Minneapolis, she leaves behind a wonderful Xfinity legacy. Competing against established Olympians, her flawless routines have secured her place among the top gymnasts and set a new benchmark for future competitions. In a recent Twitter post by NBC Olympics & Paralympics, they shared a video of Hezly Rivera’s performance on the uneven bars. They captioned the post, “15-year-old Hezly Rivera crushes it on the uneven bars and her family is HYPED. 💪” What’s particularly noteworthy is that she achieved this feat without any prior Olympics or Worlds experience. Commentators at the event praised Rivera’s performance, noting that she had an impressive level of difficulty for one of the younger athletes in the competition. In another tweet by @TheMedalCount_, they pointed out how Rivera was not even an Olympics or World Championships athlete, making her performance even more awe-worthy. They stated, “Wanna hear something crazy? Hezly Rivera and Zoey Molomo are the #1 and #2 highest scoring gymnasts at 2024 Senior Nationals with zero Olympics/Worlds experience. They were the FIRST place and LAST place finishers of 2023 Junior Nationals.” Rivera’s grand performance was also witnessed by her family. Her parents and siblings were in the stands, cheering on. Her dad proudly threw his hands up in relief at the end of her routine. NBC Sports announced on their official website that Hezly Rivera had placed 5th all-around with a score of 110.35. Rivera also won 4th place on the balance beams with 27.95 scores. As well as 5th in the uneven bars with 27.95 points. The young gymnast surpassed many spectacular athletes who experts predict will make the US National team for Paris. The level of competition at the Xfinity Games is extremely stiff as only the creme de la creme of gymnasts perform there. However, Rivera has always proven to be a worthy gymnast despite her age. Rivera began gymnastics at the age of 5 and a decade later her love for the sport is still strong. During the 2023 Xfinity Games, Hezly had a combined score of 104.750. That year she also claimed her first US National title and two apparatus titles on the uneven bars and balance beam. With a score of 26.400 and 27.400 respectively. She scored 26.760 and 24.200 on vaults and floor exercise as well. At the 2024 Winter Cup, she continued her momentum, finishing first on the balance beam and third on the all-around and floor exercise.Rivera has already risen through the ranks and has become quite noticeable in gymnastic circles. With Valeri Liukin and Anna Liukin’s tutelage, she’s certainly poised for victory. She usurped glory in the all-around competition in 2023 at the acclaimed Winter Cup. She also might be one of the youngest contenders from the US. On how she overcomes setbacks, she stated that –“I definitely can take everything, everything that I did and learn from it,”. Taking all her shortcomings and wins in her strides, Paris is on her periphery. She added that-“Every time I fall, I’m like, ‘Okay, don’t do what you did last time. Just focus on everything that you’re doing.” She heavily relies on her coaches for incremental improvements in her routines. She also bemoaned with optimism about her upcoming Olympic tryst that-“I just want to go one meet at a time, and I’m working on some upgrades right now with my coaches. Hopefully, we can put those in, which will give me a bigger all-around score, so I’m more confident going into meets.”She said in an interview, “Even the mess-ups, I’m so grateful for those because it makes me a better gymnast.” Rivera has previously expressed her plans to make the National team that represents the USA at the Olympics. The 15-year-old gymnast has qualified to join the likes of Simone Biles and Skye Blakely at the US gymnastics Olympic trials, which will take place in Minneapolis. This is her first time on a stage that big and she is focusing on her training under coach Valeri Liukin. Rivera, who fell in love with the Olympics while watching the 2008 Beijing Games has emerged as a strong competitor over the weekend.Following her crash at the 2023 Junior World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Turkey, Riviera shared that she’s learning not to let past mistakes cloud her future prospects. She stated to, “I kind of like to forget about the past because it’s just the past,” she continued. “You can’t fix anything, so you have to move forward.” This recent triumph not only marks a milestone but also sets the stage for her journey toward Olympic trials and a promising future in gymnastics.