Ever wondered what it’s like to meet President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle at the White House? Well, according to gymnast Laurie Hernandez, “it’s just like on TV!”
The Olympic medalist met the Obamas along with Final Five teammates Simone Biles, Aly Raisman and Madison Kocian on Thursday, September 29, while attending a ceremony with the president for the athletes who competed during the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. (Teammate Gabby Douglas was unable to attend because she got her wisdom teeth taken out.)
“The White House lived up to my expectations — it was really nice!” Hernandez tells Us of their exciting day. “How I thought it would be was what it was really like — it was just like on TV — there was a lot of marble and statues and art, and it was really cool.”
The ladies were scheduled to meet with just Michelle to promote her Let’s Move! campaign, but ended up getting to meet the president as well as Vice President Joe Biden.
“I wasn’t nervous to meet them, but I was really excited,” Hernandez, 16, adds. “Once I saw Obama walk through the door, we were all freaking out a little bit. … I think I started jumping up and down — it was pretty funny!”
After posing for photos with the president and FLOTUS, the gymnasts did an Instagram takeover for the White House.
In a series of fun shots posted to the White House’s account, Obama attempted to do splits with the girls, and Hernandez took an opportunity to dance in the White House’s East Wing.
The Dancing With the Stars season 23 contestant tells Us that they also joked around with the commander in chief.
“We jokingly said to President Obama, ‘Will you please adopt us?’ And he said, ‘Oh sure, my oldest is going to college, so we need someone to fill in the space!’ He said, ‘You can have sleepovers and pizza!’ We said, ‘Yes please!’ They were really nice,” she adds.
The athletes even got the chance to meet the Obama family’s dogs, Sunny and Bo.
“The dogs were so cute!” Hernandez gushes to Us. “I think they were my favorite to meet. Just kidding!” (Fun fact: Hernandez added that Sunny and Bo “smelled really good!”)
The young women also won Team of the Olympic Games, presented by Dow, at the Team USA Awards held in Washington, D.C., on Thursday. The Final Five made history during the summer games, scoring a record-breaking nine team medals.
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