For Immediate Release


LR Productions announces first annual Laurie Hernandez Champions Challenge

The first ever Laurie Hernandez Champions Challenge will be held December 18-19, 2021 in San Juan, Puerto Rico at the Puerto Rico Convention Center, hosted by LR Productions.

Featuring women's artistic gymnasts from the United States, Puerto Rico and other countries, The Challenge will include Levels 1 through 10 and Xcel gymnasts. Through a series of qualification meets in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, the top two all-around winners, as well as a "Judge's Choice" gymnast, will qualify for The Challenge. At the behest of the Hernandez family, a portion of the proceeds will benefit Puerto Rico and the Puerto Rican Gymnastics Federation. All gymnasts in the Laurie Hernandez Champions Challenge will be outfitted in a Laurie designed GK Elite leotard. Gymnastics equipment will be sponsored by AAI.

More information regarding the event can be found at

A second-generation American, Hernandez is the first American-born Latina to make the U.S. gymnastics team since 1984. Her grandparents, as well as her mother and father grew up on the island, instilling its culture in Hernandez and her siblings.

Outside the gym Hernandez enjoys spending time with her family and golden doodle named Honey. She travels the country speaking to the next generation about following their dreams. She is also a fierce advocate for mental health awareness.

"I'm extremely excited to announce the first ever Laurie Hernandez Champions Challenge. My parents instilled our family with a deep appreciation of our Latino heritage, said Hernandez. I am tremendously proud to bring a gymnastics competition to Puerto Rico that encourages girls everywhere to promote positivity in the sport, community purpose and healthy wellbeing." 

Hernandez was a member of the 2016 Olympic team, popularly known as the "Final Five." Known for her floor routines featuring outgoing facial expressions, as well as unparalleled grace and artistry, Hernandez has been dubbed the "human emoji." At the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, she took home the gold medal in the team event and the silver medal for her balance beam routine. Following the Olympics, Hernandez went on to win the coveted Mirror Ball trophy on Dancing with the Stars with her partner Val Chmerkovskiy. She also wrote her first book titled I Got This: To Gold and Beyond, which was featured on the New York Times Best Sellers list. In 2018, she released an illustrated children's book, "She's Got This" with Harper Collins Childrens that also made the New York Times Best Sellers list. Currently, Hernandez is training for the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo.

About LR Productions: LR Productions is a collaboration between Jim Lucas and Melissa Ruffino. Jim Lucas is the founder of Lucas Sports Inc (LSI), a privately held company that organizes fundraising events featuring star athletes for youth sports organizations. Founded in 2010, LSI has organized over 300 events that have raised over $10 million for hundreds of charitable causes. LSI gymnastics events have featured Laurie Hernandez, Maggie Nichols, Katelyn Ohashi, Gabby Douglas, Aly Raisman, Nastia Liukin, Shawn Johnson, Madison Kocian, McKenna Kelley, Kyla Ross, Alicia Boren and Jordyn Wieber. LSI also works with cheer, figure skating, soccer, climbing, swimming and dance. For more information on LSI visit

Melissa Ruffino has over 35 years of gymnastics experience as a gymnast, coach, gym owner, judge and meet director. She has co-owned and operated Legacy Elite Gymnastics & Fun 2B Fit Training Center in Concord, NC since 2007. She has served as meet director for more than 10 state qualifiers and her gym will host the 2021 NC State Championships. She is a NAWGJ member and Level 10 NCAA Judge, and for the past 9 years has served as Contract Director for the NC NAWGJ Board of Directors. Melissa holds a current national coaches' ranking and was the NC Xcel Coach of the year in 2014, 2015 and 2016.