North Texas diver Hailey Hernandez left for Japan Sunday to compete for Team USA in the Tokyo Olympics.
The 18-year-old was a bundle of nerves as she checked in for her flight early Sunday morning at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.
“I’m feeling super excited and ready to go out there and just get there and compete,” Hernandez said.
Fresh out of high school, the Southlake Carroll graduate will be competing in the 3m springboard and has a lot to look forward to.
“I’m getting ready to just getting to meet, hopefully, a lot of other athletes, and just to experience something that is such a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” she said.
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Her mother, Teresa Hernandez, was at the airport to see her daughter off.
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She wished she could be in Tokyo to support her daughter from the stands, but spectators have been barred because of the city’s COVID-19 state of emergency.
“It’s a little sad and bittersweet that, you know, she’s heading off without us, without her family,” Hernandez.
Though her fans can't be there to see her compete in person, she has a big team cheering her on at home.
In the weeks leading up to her departure, Hernandez was honored with a backyard celebration full of well-wishers and a parade in Southlake Town Square.
Hernandez plans to carry that love and support in her heart as she competes for Team USA.
“We’ve always grown up competing with the spectators and people cheering really loudly, so it’ll definitely be different," Hernandez said. "I’m sad they’re not able to be there, but I know they’ll be watching me and supporting me from back home, so I’ll remember that as I’m competing."
The opening ceremony will be held Friday. You can watch the 3m springboard competition live at 2 a.m. on Aug. 1 streaming live, and also on USA.
Select sessions of the Tokyo Olympics diving competition will air live on the networks of NBCUniversal, while every session can be streamed live on NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports app.
Find full TV listings for diving and any other Olympic sport on the full TV schedule. Diving will feature in NBC's primetime coverage.
NBC 5 parent NBCUniversal owns NBC Sports and NBC Olympics. NBC Olympics is the U.S. broadcast rights holder to all Summer and Winter Games through 2032.