World Champion Gymnast Morgan Hurd is the Definition of Determination and Resilience

The 5x U.S. Women's National Gymnastics Team member continues to bounce back from every obstacle thrown her way.

For most awe-struck children (and adults!) watching the gymnastics portion of the Olympics, imagining themselves contorting midair while fans bellow from the stands is the stuff of pipe dreams: fun to imagine, but far from reality.

But for Morgan Hurd, standing on an Olympic podium hasn't just been a fantasy. It's a serious goal she's been determined to crush since she was 11 years old.

"I've had the same goal from a very young age: to go to the Olympics," says the two-time American Cup All-Around champ. "I wanted to do anything that I could to achieve that goal." (

For Hurd, that means training for six hours per day, five days per week, with her longtime coach, Slava Glazournov. He says that Hurd's work ethic — and her "desire to be the best" — has set her apart from other gymnasts, as she's racked up over a dozen national and international competitive gymnastics awards over the past few years. Not to mention, she's competed alongside iconic athletes like Simone Biles and Suni Lee on the U.S. Women's National Gymnastics Team for the past five years. (Which, NBD or anything.)

And for Hurd's mother, Sherri, that talent was apparent from a young age. Although she put her daughter in a mix of activities as a child, from t-ball to ice skating, "gymnastics was the one I always wanted to come back to," Hurd explains.

Despite Setbacks, Hurd Refuses to Stay Down

If you ask Hurd, those impressive titles aren't what she's most proud of. Rather, it's been her constant ability to push through adversity and multiple injuries throughout her career, including a recent surgery on her left arm. "I've had to bounce back from injury and disappointment, but I've always gotten back up," she explains.

In March, she underwent her fifth and sixth elbow surgeries. Those procedures meant that her recovery (and preparation) time for the U.S. National Championships — which was less than three months away at the time — would be cut short. And in early June when Hurd competed, her scores weren't high enough to make the Olympic trials.

Although Hurd admits to being dissatisfied with her standings from the tournament, missing out on the Olympics this summer in Tokyo is another (temporary) setback she's refusing to let keep her down. Hurd plans on fully supporting her teammates. "I hope the world sees the amount of difficulty and dedication that these girls have put in," she notes, adding that she'll be constantly tuned in to the games.

Turning a Strong-Willed Mentality to Activism

Downtime from competing meant that Hurd's determined, thick-skinned nature could be funneled into other passions — namely, making an impact in her community. She's a strong social justice advocate, using her Instagram account to bring a host of causes she's passionate about to the forefront, including Black Lives Matter and Stop AAPI Hate.

At a Stop AAPI Hate rally this past March, for example, Hurd gave an impassioned speech where she commanded her listeners to denormalize racist remarks against Asian Americans and gave the charge "if you see something, do something" to the crowd's non-Asian allies.

Hurd is a firm believer that "silence is compliance," pushing her followers to fight for human rights. "I will always have [activism] as a part of my life," Hurd explains. (

Despite the setbacks from this past year, Hurd remains committed to the same goal she held since she was an ambitious 11-year-old: competing as an elite-level gymnast. You can find her touring with Biles and other all-star gymnasts this September in the Gold Over America Tour. Be sure to get your tickets before they sell out!

To learn more about all the Olympic hopefuls, visit The Tokyo Olympics begin July 23 on NBC.

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