'You Can Count on Her' (Exclusive): Laurie Hernandez Says Simone Biles Is a Lock to Make Paris Olympic Team

Simone Biles will always have her former Olympic teammate Laurie Hernandez in her corner

Published Time: 06.06.2024 - 17:31:14 Modified Time: 06.06.2024 - 17:31:14

Simone Biles will always have her former Olympic teammate Laurie Hernandez in her corner.

The Paris 2024 hopeful, who just won her ninth U.S. Championship on June 2, will next tackle the U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Team Trials from June 27-30, and Hernandez is rooting for her the whole way.

"Simone is a big name that will always keep popping up," Hernandez says of Biles, whom she competed alongside at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016. "She's just a surefire for Team USA in Paris, to know that she's going to go out there and be consistent. Her difficulty is so high, and she really is one of the best. You can count on her. You know you're going to watch greatness when her name pops up."

If Biles makes the Olympic team, she'll be the first American woman to make three Olympic gymnastics teams since Dominique Dawes. At the time of the Games, she'll also be 27 years old, which in the gymnastics world, is "old," Hernandez, 23, says with a bit of a smile.

"We're so funny," Hernandez, who recently partnered with Olay ahead of the Paris Games, adds, while acknowledging that many gymnasts don't compete for as long as Biles has. "But this is a really exciting year."

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Biles herself addressed the discussion about her "old" age after her win on June 2, telling reporters, “I use the phrase ‘aging like fine wine.' It’s just getting better and better. We’ll see. Hopefully we get to ride this out for the rest of the year.”

And seemingly, she is. She snatched gold medals in every apparatus at the competition: floor, vault, beam and uneven bars. She finished with a two-day total score of 119.750.

Biles admitted that she was learning to "trust" herself again following her performance at the Tokyo Olympics, where she pulled out of almost every event, later citing her mental health and the "twisties."

"It took a lot mentally and physically to just trust my gymnastics again and most importantly trust myself," she said during her press conference. "I think that was the hardest part after Tokyo is I didn't trust myself to do gymnastics."

Biles will aim for her third Olympic team at the trials, which take place in Minneapolis. Hernandez will also be in Paris for the Olympics as an NBC correspondent for gymnastics, a gig she tells PEOPLE she's "excited" for but a little nervous about.

"I just want to share my joy with the sport with everyone," she says.

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