OLD BRIDGE - Old Bridge celebrated on Saturday in honor of the town's 16-year-old Olympic champion, Laurie Hernandez, who took home gold and silver medals in gymnastics this summer in Rio.
Hernandez attended a meet-and-greet at Monmouth Gymnastics Academy on Saturday morning.
"Our family is totally without words," says Hernandez's mother, Wanda. "I'm grateful that this is not a political scene. That we can come in and leave all of our judgements behind and today celebrate as a community."
Hernandez addressed fans and neighbors at Lombardi Field as well. She won a silver medal on the balance beam and a gold in the all-around competition while in Rio.
Local mothers noted the incredible impact she is having on young girls across New Jersey.
"We really wanted to meet her because she's a very positive influence as we want our young gymnasts to be having someone to look up to," says Theresa Emma of Pequannock.
The owner of Monmouth Gymnastics Academy, who has known Hernandez since she was 5, says that since the Olympics, 250 additional kids have signed up at the Academy.
After some time with her family, Hernandez will start a 36-city tour with her Team USA teammates in September.