With the Paris Olympics just three weeks away, 16-year-old Latina gymnast Hezly Rivera is ready to pack her bags and bring Latino pride to the City of Lights.

The athlete from Oradell, North Jersey, made the U.S. Olympic gymnastics team late Sunday afternoon. She thus joins Tokyo 2021 Games veterans Simone Biles, Suni Lee, Jordan Chiles, and Jade Carey.

Hezly Rivera is the youngest member of the team

A native of Hackensack, N.J., Hezly Rivera is one of the nation’s most closely-watched emerging talents.

Rivera was a member of the 2023 World Junior Championships silver medal-winning team and a 2023 World Junior silver medalist in floor exercise.

The young athlete competed at the 2022 Winter Cup, placing third in the all-around. Thanks to that achievement, she was selected to compete in the DTB Pokal Team Challenge. There, she helped the United States win the gold medal.

A talented Latina ready to conquer Paris

Despite her young age, Hezly Rivera met the requirements to compete at the senior level in 2024. She debuted at the Winter Cup and then made her international debut at the City of Jesolo Trophy.

After placing sixth in the all-around at the National Championships, Rivera qualified for the Olympic Trials.

At the 2024 U.S. Olympic Trials, Rivera placed fifth in the all-around, first on balance beam, fourth on uneven bars, and eighth on floor. She was selected to represent Team USA at the 2024 Summer Olympics and snagged fifth place on the team.

When the team announced its lineup following the completion of the trials in Minneapolis, Rivera said she was “ecstatic” to make the team and credited her family and the sacrifices she and others have made to achieve this goal.