How Laurie Hernandez Will Still Take Part in Tokyo Olympics Despite Not Making Team USA

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How Laurie Hernandez Will Still Take Part in Tokyo Olympics Despite Not Making Team USA
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Laurie Hernandez is trading the balance beam for a microphone at the Tokyo Olympics.

In June, the gymnast's dreams to compete at the 2020 Games were cut short when a knee injury cost her a spot on Team USA. The setback didn't hinder Laurie's chance at a second Olympic experience, however. The 21-year-old stopped by E!'s Daily Pop on July 15 to reveal she's headed overseas to lend her expertise as a commentator.

Describing the "first time" gig as a "little bit odd heading into it," Laurie told Victor Cruz, "But at the same time it should be a lot of fun."

Looking back at the moment she and teammates Simone Biles, Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas and Madison Kocian struck gold in Rio, Laurie admitted it's taken time for her to understand the magnitude of becoming an Olympic champ.

"I knew it was a big deal but I don't know if actually registered," she explained. "Whereas now I look back on it and I'm like, that was huge and little me just could not comprehend that."

Get to Know the U.S. Gymnasts Competing at the Tokyo Olympics

Nowadays, the Dancing With the Stars winner is using her platform to destigmatize the conversation around mental health. One Mind, a non-profit dedicated to brain health research and advocacy, selected the athlete as their One Mind Champion.

Laurie Hernandez, DWTS
Laurie Hernandez, DWTS

As part of her role, Laurie recently launched the "I Am a Champion" contest in partnership with One Mind, Hyperice and the Little Words Project. She's encouraged fans to share their own stories of how they or a loved one showed resilience in the face of a mental health challenge.

Of her own experience going public with her mental health struggles, Laurie told Daily Pop, "There was something about being able to share it with people and being transparent that felt really freeing."