Amidst worries over the Zika virus, acts of terrorism and political turmoil in the form of impeachment proceedings against the country’s first female president, over 10,000 of the world’s best athletes will rely heavily on their laser like focus when they clash at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in a couple of weeks. Though many have declined to participate, you can also understand why the prospect of harm is not a deterrent for the overwhelming majority that has dreamed of this opportunity probably since they were toddlers.

With roots far beyond the first ‘Games of the Olympiad’ in 1896, the Olympics is without a doubt sports’ grandest stage. Excellence in this storied competition – no matter the sport – intimates the truest definition of world champion(s). Fittingly, selection to represent one’s country is not just emblematic of unmatched prowess in a particular sport, it is an honor with potential to elevate athletes from being “physically gifted” to immortalized figures should they reach the pinnacle of Olympic gold.

As you watch the games unfold this year, we suggest you pay close attention to these six atletas of Latino heritage who will represent the United States in their quest for Olympic glory.

Laurie Hernandez

One of the youngest members in the entire US Olympic congregation, the 16-year old Hernandez has already made history and become an Olympic darling before the start of the games. She is just the third Latina ever to qualify and the first since Anna Hatch made the squad in 2004. Besides her infectious charisma and energetic performances, this Boricua bundle of joy and the pride of Old Bridge, NJ is mature beyond her years and has stated “it’s an honor to represent Puerto Rico and Hispanics and all the girls out there.” Like her teammates Gabby Douglas, Simone Biles, Aly Raisman and Madison Kocian, Hernandez will undoubtedly draw the world’s spotlight as a rising star in women’s gymnastics and one whose team will need brilliant performances from in order to claim the ultimate team prize.

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