Gold Medalist To Speak At UCO

Gold Medalist To Speak At UCO


Olympic gold medalist Laurie Hernandez will speak at the University of Central Oklahoma Nov. 14. (Provided/University Communications)

The University of Central Oklahoma Student Association and Leadership Central are partnering to bring a U.S. Women’s Gymnastics Olympic gold and silver medalist for the UCOSA speaker series on Nov. 14.

Laurie Hernandez was the first U.S.-born Latina to make the 2016 U.S. Women’s Gymnastics Olympic team since 1984. Hernandez’s nickname is the “human emoji” for her facial expressions.

Hernandez specializes in floor exercise routines and the balance beam. She won the gold and silver at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, including Team All Around with the Final Five team.

After the Olympics, Hernandez was on season 23 of “Dancing with the Stars” and won the Mirrorball Trophy. She is a New York Times best-selling author for her first book “I Got This: To Gold and Beyond” that was published in January and chronicles her journey thus far.

“We picked Laurie because we wanted to partner with Leadership Central,” UCOSA President Stockton Duvall said. “I think she is a great example of leadership at a young age.”

Hernandez will give a short talk in the Nigh University Center’s Constitution Hall at 7 p.m. about her Olympic journey and tips for success and then take part in a moderated 45-minute question and answer session with Duvall.

Following the speaker series, there will be a meet and great with the gymnast. The event is free and open to the community, however the 325 community tickets were sold out on Nov. 4 according to UCOSA’s twitter profile.

UCOSA is providing 175 student tickets which can be picked up at their office in the Nigh University Center in Room 148 from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Tickets for the rest of available seating can be reserved online and picked up in advance at the Mitchell Hall box office or at their booth before the event.

The event is paid for by student activity fees used for high impact money managed by the UCOSA executive board.

According to Duvall, the executive board is working to bring in one more speaker for the series sometime next semester.

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