For Rio Olympic Stars, spotlight hasn’t faded 

USA Today

USA TODAY Sports revisits some of the biggest names in Rio to see how their lives have changed over the last 12 months.

Gymnast Hernandez keeps juggling

On the rare morning she gets to sleep in, Laurie Hernandez often finds herself wondering not so much where she is but how she got there.

A year ago, the country was just getting acquainted with the bubbly 16-year-old, the youngest member of the U.S. gymnastics team. Now she’s an Olympic champion and Dancing with the Stars winner, a crossover celebrity who has made the rounds of red carpets and talk shows.

“Life has been moving so fast,” Hernandez told USA TODAY Sports. “I can’t believe it’s almost been a year. I can’t believe my dreams came true.”

Hernandez won team gold as part of the USA’s “Final Five” and added a silver on balance beam. Her smile and personality — she was nicknamed “The Human Emoji” — made her one of Rio’s breakout stars, and her life has been a blur since.

She juggled her time on DWTS with a nationwide gymnastics tour. She published her biography, hung out with some of the cast members of Law & Order: SVU, her favorite TV show, and has crisscrossed the country making appearances.

Though she hasn’t been training — “my body and my brain just really needed a break” — Hernandez says she hopes to return to the gym at the end of the summer. She also has one more year of high school to finish, and then there’s college.

There’s much to look forward to for someone who’s already accomplished so much.

“Our leotards, which seems a bit silly,” Hernandez said of her favorite memories from Rio. “We put a lot of thought into what leotards we wore at the Olympics. I don’t know why, but that’s one of the biggest things I remember. Just standing on the podium and taking everything in — including my leotard and my warm-up.”

Tatyana McFadden Wins 4 World Championship Golds

Athletics Weekly

Tatyana McFadden continued her dominance of the T54 events as she won her fourth gold of the World Para Athletics Championships in London, taking the 800m title with ease in 1:47.82.

The American’s start to the season had been affected by blood clots in her legs but she returned to dominate on the track in the UK capital, winning titles in the 200m, 400m and 1500m before her 800m success on Wednesday.

“I am so proud of myself,” said McFadden, who finished more than a second and a half ahead of Switzerland’s Manuela Schär and her fellow US wheelchair racer Amanda McGrory. “It’s been a long journey this year and this is such a great way to finish these world championships. As it was my last race I just wanted to race well regardless of how I felt and how I did.

“I was a little nervous as I didn’t know if I could trust my body to be able to do it.”

“I had surgery three months ago and had to focus on my recovery. All I wanted to do was to make it back to London because I love it here.”

Tatyana McFadden took home her 7th straight victory at Peachtree Road Race

Tatyana McFadden took the lead early in the women’s wheelchair race and never let up. After taking top place in the race every year since 2010, she quickly proved why she’s a powerhouse in the sport.Within two miles of the start, she started passing several of the male racers. 

McFadden crossed the finish line of the AJC Peachtree Road Race with an unofficial time of 24:17. 

“This course is fierce,” McFadden told 11Alive at the finish line. “I love this race. It’s really technical and fast.” She vowed to return for race number eight next year. 

The 27-year-old continues her impressive streak including the Boston Marathon, the New York Marathon, and the London Marathon.