Olympic gymnast Laurie Hernandez in Novi for International Women's Show

Posted at 3:42 PM, May 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-05 17:48:17-04

Don't let her size fool you, Olympic gold medalist Laurie Hernandez is larger than life. This little gymnast can command a crowd.

"Well I love speaking in general because I have a lot of people listening. And people care what I have to say and i take that a big responsibility to say the right things and make sure I'm inspiring all the little girls who are watching in the crowd," said Hernandez.

The 16-year-old was in town Friday to speak at the Michigan International Women's Show in Novi.

"I think my biggest message would be that you go out and you try new things and you keep an open mind about new opportunities whether it’s a job, or it’s sports or a hobby or anything like that," she said.

Hernandez won a silver and gold medal last summer at the Rio Olympics and followed that up by taking the top prize -- The Mirror Ball Trophies -- on Dancing With The Stars. She says she had no idea what she was getting into with the latter.

"I mean i knew there was dancing involved, but it was definitely a tough one. Gymnastics you train the same routine over and over and the pressure comes from ‘Can I do it again?’ and dancing is more ‘O.K. We’re going to do a jive week one, cha cha Week 2, and then it just switches every single time and even though the judges give you feedback you can’t really use it for the next week," explained Hernandez.

It certainly seems like there's not much she's afraid to try, and she says the responsibility of being a role model for young female athletes doesn't phase her and her Team USA teammates.

"I think our group understood that it was an honor to even be able to go to the Olympics. Sometimes things can get a little rough but being able to push through that makes you a better person and a better athlete."