SOUTHLAKE, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – After qualifying for the Olympic games in the 3-meter springboard diving event, Hailey Hernandez says, “It’s absolutely unreal. At the same time. I couldn’t be happier to represent Texas and the whole United States.”
Amidst the rejoicing when Hailey qualified for the summer games in Indianapolis, a proud set of parents, Rick and Teresa, were shocked to find out how Hailey wanted to celebrate the milestone moment.
Her mother, Teresa Hernandez, says, “We asked her what she wanted to celebrate, a steak or something, it was later at night… she was like, ‘I just want a milkshake.'”
The simple joys of a young lady who is sky high after just graduating from Southlake Carroll High School. Hailey departs for the summer games in mid-July and then heads to the University of Texas in August, where she’ll major in biology.
When asked how she manages to still be a normal 18-year-old, she replies, “I’m still a kid. Even just having fun at practice, and remembering to not just focus on my diving, but other relationships even outside of the pool.”
That includes her relationship with her brother, Nathaniel, a diver himself who paved the way for Hailey, and now it’s Hailey inspiring other kids to realize that any goal is within reach.
She explains, “Being able to practice with them and have them be around me all the time, I know a lot of people have said they look up to me and it’s such an amazing feeling. And they can say, she did it and did it so young and I can continue to push and reach my dreams too.”
Her mom says, “More so than the fact that my child’s an Olympian. My child’s a role model. That’s precious to me.”
And as Hailey steps onto the 3-meter diving board in these Olympics, she may do so in front of no family and friends in the stands, if they’re not allowed, in Japan.
As a 13-year-old, Hailey went to China for a competition minus her family. If she has to travel to Tokyo by herself, it won’t be anything new. But, she will not be all alone.
Teresa Hernandez promises, “She knows undoubtedly we’re here for her. We’re supporting her, and she will hear the whole community Texas cheering for her.”
And to that, Southlake Carroll’s Hailey Hernandez, who could end carrying the hopes and dreams of the entire nation, wants them to know one thing.
“This is just the beginning.”
Extended Interview With Hailey Hernandez: