In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month, Erika L. Sánchez writes a tribute essay to?Olympian Laurie Hernandez.This summer the Olympics in Rio gave us the gift of Laurie Hernandez, the vibrant 16-year-old gymnast from New Jersey who won a gold medal in the team event and a silver medal for the balance beam. Shes one of the youngest members of Team USA and has quickly become an international star and a role model for girls everywhere.I dont think Ive ever seen a young Latina receive so much love and praise, and its been incredible to watch.Hernandez, of Puerto Rican heritage, has been honing her gymnastic skills since the age of five. Her dedication to her sport is palpable in her graceful powerful movements. She exudes a confidence on the floor that is, unfortunately, rare for a teenage girl.Its taken me a lifetime to be that self-assured.When I was Hernandezs age, I never saw anyone who looked like me on TV, let alone in sports. I was uncoordinated and dreaded any sort of physical activity. Part of my hesitation stemmed from the discomfort I felt with my own body.Like many young women, I was embarrassed of simply existing, of being me. Thats why Im so encouraged when I watch Hernandez. I lament that I didnt have that kind of poise and determination, but Im so grateful that she can influence future generations of young women.Unfortunately, brown girls are often discouraged from exercising outside because its considered masculine. My grandmother, for instance, once called me marimacha, which roughly translates to butch, simply because I liked to play outdoors.Instead of getting involved with after school activities, young Latinas are often obligated to do chores or take care of their siblings. Their responsibilities primarily reside in the home, and its considered indecent to be out in the streets.Despite the discouragement I received from my environment and my own self-doubt, in seventh grade I decided to join an after-school volleyball league. Initially I was proud of having challenged myself, but I regretted my decision as soon as I realized that I was absolutely terrible, incapable of ever getting the ball over the net. My teammates would groan whenever I missed a shot. Then, as a freshman in high school I joined the track team, but quit after a few weeks because I was so slow my races didnt even count. I felt like a failure and decided I wasnt athletic, that it wasnt a part of who I was.Hernandez is the opposite of my younger self, and that is so refreshing to me. Not only is she athletically talented, her exuberance and sunny disposition add to her extraordinary presence. Its no surprise that her nicknames include Baby Shakira, and Human Emoji.She moves with personality and attitude. In addition to her gymnastics career, Hernandez is also a skilled dancer, performing flawlessly on Dancing with the Stars. Its motivating to watch her move her body with such joy. I spent so much of my youth shrouding myself and grappling with depression that its heartening to see a young woman who isnt afraid to celebrate her own talent and physique.Im now in my 30s and am so thrilled to see that times have changed for young girls of color. Latinas have become more visible in media in general, and the Internet has made it easier for girls to pursue their interests and find positive representations of themselves.Though she is much younger than me, I consider Laurie Hernandez a role model. She is the embodiment of Brown Girl Magic. In an interview this summer she stated, I want to make sure I always show off my smile and have a positive attitude the whole time, whether its during a performance, practice or doing an interview. This outlook is something we should all try to emulate.I hope that Hernandez will inspire a generation of Latina girls to pursue sports, to become comfortable with their bodies, to experience the exhilaration of physical transcendence.Erika L. Sánchez is a poet, essayist, and fiction writer. She is the author?of Lessons on Expulsion (Graywolf 2017) and I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter (Knopf Books for Young Readers 2017). Her nonfiction has appeared in Al Jazeera, The Guardian, Rolling Stone, and many other publications. She has received a CantoMundo Fellowship, a Discovery/Boston Review Poetry Prize, and a Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation. NGolo Kante Jersey . 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Jorginho Jersey .Y. -- Jayna Hefford scored the winning goal Friday as Canada survived a scare with a 4-3 win over Sweden at the Four Nations womens hockey tournament. RIO DE JANEIRO -- Former Tennessee athlete Tianna Bartoletta (formerly Tianna Madison) is the long jump Olympic champion after clearing 7.17m (23-6.25). Former Ole Miss athlete Brittney Reese claimed silver in the event.Bartoletta took the lead on her third attempt with a mark of 6.95m, but Reese and Ivana Spanovic both cleared the 7.00m mark to put pressure on Bartoletta. Bartoletta responded with a personal best jump of 7.17m to capture the gold medal. Reese posted a strong jump in her final attempt, but it fell just short of Bartolettas marker at 7.15m, ensuring anothergGold for Bartoletta.Bartoletta, the reigning world champion in the long jump, claimed her second career Olympic medal after earning gold as part of the 4x100m relay team that won gold in London.Tennessee has now won 53 medals, 17 of which have been earned by track and field athletes. Bartolettta earned the 32nd gold medal by a VFL or current Tennessee student-athlete.ddddddddddddReese, a Gulfport, Mississippi, native who now lives and trains in San Diego, had only one fair attempt (6.79m) out of her first four, before a pair of huge distances in her final two - 7.09m and then 7.15m.Reese earns the fourth Olympic medal all-time among Ole Miss track & field representatives and is the first Rebel to boast two Olympic medals.With Sam Kendricks bronze in the mens pole vault on Monday combined with Reeses runner-up effort, its the first Olympics for Ole Miss representatives to win multiple medals.Tony Dees won the other Olympic medal by a former track & field Rebel with his silver in the 110-meter hurdles in Barcelona in 1992. 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