North High alum Hernandez prepares for Olympic debut

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WICHITA, Kansas (KSNW) – Recently becoming the first Wichitan in over a decade to land a spot in the Olympics, Nico Hernandez returns to Colorado Springs this month to prepare at the U.S. Olympic Training Center.

The 20-year-old Wichita North High School grad will compete at the light flyweight level this August in Rio de Janeiro.

During his brief stop-off in Wichita, KSN interviewed Hernandez at the Northside 316 Boxing Club as he gets set to compete on a worldwide stage.

Hernandez’s father Lewis runs the Northside club and has trained Nico for several years.

Getting his son involved in boxing at age nine, Lewis told KSN, “I kind of threw him to the wolves, gave him a little trial run, showing him what it was going to be like, threw him in the ring with four guys, he withstood it.” Lewis added, “I said you still want to fight, with his nose bleeding and the eyes kind of watering, he said yep and then from there I started teaching him.”

Nico told KSN, “In 2012 when I went to the Junior Olympics I took first at Nationals, I was on top of the podium, getting the gold medal put around my neck, it was a good feeling.”

There’s no mistaking where Hernandez came from, he’s tattooed Wichita’s 316 area code on his leg; a reminder as he makes a lasting impression, becoming the first Wichitan since 2004 to compete in the Olympics.

Punching his ticket to Rio during an Olympic qualifier in March in Buenos Aires, Nico says “My family’s proud of me, Wichita’s proud of me and hopefully I can make the whole United States proud of me.”

Approaching the 2016 Summer Game, Hernandez is working on bringing his weight down from 120 pounds to 108 pounds and he’s also working with new coaches for Olympic competition & training.

The opening ceremony in Rio is set for Aug. 5th and boxing events are scheduled for Aug. 6th-21st. The 2016 Rio Olympic games will be broadcast on KSN-TV.

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