Morales to Compete on NBC’s “Hollywood Game Night”

It’s game on for Natalie Morales

The 44-year-old Puerto Rican and Brazilian American broadcast journalist, the Today Show West Coast anchor and an NBC News correspondent, will appear on this season of NBC’s Hollywood Game Night.

Natalie Morales

Hosted by Glee star Jane Lynch, this game night show brings regular people face-to-face with celebrities.

In addition to Morales, this season’s famous contestants include Sterling K. Brown, Chrissy Metz, Justin Hartley from This Is Us, Ben Feldman from Superstore, plus Michael Bolton, NE-YO, Mike Colter, Margaret Cho, Gabby Douglas, Taye Diggs, and RuPaul.

Hollywood Game Night will premiere on Monday, August 7 at 10 pm ET.

Hernandez to Serve as a Presenter at the MTV Video Music Awards

Laurie Hernandez is ready to make music… or at least a music-related announcement.

The 16-year-old Puerto Rican gymnast, a member of the gold-winning Final Five and a silver medalist on the balance beam at the 2016 Rio Games, is heading to the MTV Video Music Awards.

Laurie Hernandez

Hernandez and her teammates, Simone Biles, Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas and Madison Kocian, will present awards at Sunday’s show in New York City.

Jimmy Fallon, Kim Kardashian, Alicia Keys and Puff Daddy will also present awards, while attendees at Madison Square Garden will include Kanye West, Bryson Tiller, 2 Chainz, DNCE, Desiigner and Troye Sivan.

Britney Spears, Rihanna, Future, Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj, Nick Jonas and the Chainsmokers will perform during the live show.

Beyonce is the leading nominee with 11, followed by Adele with eight nominations.

Beyonce, Adele, West, Justin Bieber and Drake will compete for video of the year.

Hernandez Bests Simone Biles to Claim Silver in Women’s Balance Beam at the 2016 Rio Games

2016 Rio Games

Laurie Hernandez is proving to be the future of U.S. Gymnastics…

The 16-year-old Puerto Rican gymnast, who helped the American team win the gold in the women’s gymnastics competition, has beamed her way on the medal podium on her own at the 2016 Rio Games.

Laurie Hernandez

Hernandez capped a rollercoaster Olympic with a silver medal of her own on balance beam, eclipsing teammate Simone Biles in the apparatus final on Monday.

Hernandez, the youngest member of a team that also includes 2012 London Games veterans Aly Raisman and Gabby Douglas, has held her share of the spotlight here with ups and downs that her coach freely acknowledges.

An internet GIF of Hernandez winking at judges before her floor routine last week has made the rounds online, and the Old Bridge native’s animated personality and potential longevity in the sport figure to open more doors for her after the Olympics. Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton adapted her campaign slogan to root for Hernandez on Twitter, announcing #ImWithHernandez. John Green, author of The Fault in Our Stars, also tweeted his congratulations, to the delight of Hernandez, who cites the book as a favorite.

Laurie Hernandez

Despite Hernandez’s growing profile, the U.S. team’s initial qualification-round lineup gave Biles, Raisman and Douglas a shot at getting into the individual all-around final, while Hernandez was left on the sidelines rooting for them. Biles and Raisman went on to take gold and silver in the all-around, respectively.

That was a blow for Hernandez, who has beaten Raisman and Douglas in competition at times in the past year, and who was left with her one chance for an individual medal on beam. But, that didn’t seem to dampen her experience throughout the Games.

“She’s going home with two medals, a gold and a silver. That’s amazing. This is her first really major international competition,” says Maggie Haney, Hernandez’s coach.

Hernandez Helps Lead the U.S. Women’s Gymnastics Team to Gold at the 2016 Rio Games

2016 Rio Games

Laurie Hernandez isn’t old enough to vote, but she’s already a golden girl…

The 16-year-old Puerto Rican gymnast helped lead her team to gold in the women’s gymnastics competition at the 2016 Rio Games.

Laurie Hernandez & the US Women's Gymnastics Team

Hernandez and her teammates, the self-proclaimed “Final Five,” proved that the Americans really were just as dominant as they looked during team qualifications, easily winning gold at the 2016 Summer Olympics.

It’s the first time that the U.S. women have won back-to-back gold medals at an Olympic Games.

Russia took home the silver, while China wrangled the bronze away from Japan.

And after Simone Biles’ score went up as the final competitor on floor exercise, the team also announced its much-anticipated team name: the “Final Five.”

Laurie Hernandez

The U.S. women opened up on vault with Hernandez, an upstart, putting up a 15.100. Hernandez found herself in the vault lineup after outscoring teammate Gabby Douglas during qualifying. Aly Raisman continued her run of impressive Amanars and nailed the landing once again for a huge 15.833. Biles did what she has been doing for the last three years and scored a 15.933 with a stellar Amanar of her own.

The Americans moved onto the uneven bars where Douglas and Madison Kocian each got their moment to shine. It was the only event that both gymnasts would appear on in the team final competition. They did not disappoint. Douglas put up a 15.766, while Kocian hit the 15.9 mark for the second time at this Olympics with a 15.933.

Laurie Hernandez

On the balance beam, Raisman corrected the error she had on her side aerial in the qualifying meet to come away with a 15.000. The scores kept on building from there. Hernandez went up and was rock solid looking more like a veteran, than the young first-time Olympian that she is. Her 15.233 was just shy of the score that landed her in the balance beam event final. Biles had a minor bobble on her acrobatic series early on, but still put up the top score on beam for the United States.

“Man, we were ready,” Hernandez said. “So, so ready.”

The American women beat Russia by 8.209 points, the largest margin of victory since the 1960 Rome Games, where six athletes’ scores were included in each apparatus total. In Rio, only three individual scores were tallied in each event.

A three-time world champion, Biles is the overwhelming favorite to win all-around gold Thursday, but the mantle of breakout American star at these Olympics belongs to Hernandez.

About 36 hours before the start of the team competition, Martha Karolyi, the U.S. national team coordinator, told Hernandez she would be participating in three events—the vault, the balance beam and the floor exercise. Upon hearing the news, Hernandez, the first Latina gymnast on the U.S. team since Annia Hatch a dozen years ago, felt like screaming in joy. She was selected over Douglas, the reigning all-around Olympic gold medal winner, and Kocian, a specialist on the uneven bars.

“I’ve worked so hard for this moment, and I wanted to be out there for my country,” she said. “There was no doubt about my abilities at all in my mind.”

In the preliminary round of the team competition, Hernandez became a trending topic on Twitter after her floor exercise as she danced and tumbled her way into the imagination of fans across the globe. Nicknamed “Baby Shakira” and “The Human Emoji” for her vivid facial expressions, she engaged the crowd with a stage performer’s ease—a prodigy born to be in the bright lights.

In her final floor routine, she again dazzled spectators with her rhythmic moves, first learned in ballet lessons at the age of three. In between opening with a double layout and closing with a tucked double back, she danced like no one was looking, which caused everyone who was looking to roar.

Unable to contain her joy after sticking her final flip—a refreshing trait in women’s gymnastics—she blew kisses to the fans.

“I wish I could dance like Laurie,” Douglas said. “She can feel it during her floor routine like no one else I’ve ever seen. That’s why the crowd loves her so much, because it’s just natural for her.”

Much as the crowd loves her, they won’t see her in the individual floor final. Even though she finished with the third-best score Tuesday, each country can send only two athletes per event, and Biles and Raisman beat her out. She’ll next compete Monday in the balance beam final.