Just days after finding out that her grandmom Brunilda Hernandez – that had actually been battling Alzheimer’s – had died, the Olympian had actually to go out and percreate two dances live on Dancing With the Stars Monday. “It was type of a challenging week,” Hernandez, 16, told PEOPLE backstage after the live present.

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Hernandez’s grandmommy passed away Wednesday evening, but the nsteustatiushistory.orgs was retained from the young gymnast until Friday. “I simply desire to defend and also guide her through it, but I’m not going to shelter her from a situation that is hers,” shelp her pro dancer companion Valentin Chmerkovskiy, that had been told that Wednesday night and assisted decide to inevitably tell her the nsteustatiushistory.orgs. “It’s hers to face and hers to prosper from and hers to understand also too. She demands to take time and understand also it.”


“But the fact is that her grandma was so proud of her and also as a perkid at that age, I think the a lot of tranquility you acquire is by seeing what you leave behind and also the tradition you leave behind and also to watch your granddaughter recurrent her nation and her family members and also herself via so much dignity and also pride and strength is an absolutely remarkable feeling for her grandma,” continued the dancer, referencing Hernandez’s current gold medal win at the Rio Olympics.


Chmerkovskiy sassist he’s certain Hernandez’s grandmom is “in a far better location and also watching down and also simply as proud.” He added: “The lesboy is to cherish eincredibly moment. Don’t take points for granted and don’t forobtain that it’s always around people. It’s not about the gold medals or the trophies or the money. It’s about the civilization that you cherish and also can share remarkable moments through.”


And while Hernandez was visibly emotional behind the scenes during the video package that played prior to her initially dance Monday, she says she is grateful she had the ability to rely on her partner for emotional support. “He actually covered my ears while the package was playing. I still cried a small little bit, yet without him I would certainly have probably not been able to dance and also I did this particular day – or also dance at all,” says Hernandez, who scored a perfect 30 from the judges for their foxtrot.

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By the moment she came ago out for her trio dance via Chmerkovskiy and his brvarious other Maksim, the pro showed up to be in better spirits. “When you have household with you, it provides you extra energy. It was choose I acquired 2 brothers this week,” she told reporters of rehearsing – and also receiving a second perfect score – via the Chmerkovskiys for their samba. “Tonight was a little tough. Some times you simply don’t understand what to say. So instead of saying anypoint, I danced my means via it.”


Hernandez has been announced as a finalist on the reality dance competition and will certainly vie for the Mirrorround Trophy following Monday and Tuesday on ABC.


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