Grandparents proud of U.S. Snowboarder

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Angel Hernandez and his wife Mary Ellen have 14 grandchildren, and they are proud of them all.

They will have their attention especially focused on Sochi and the Winter Olympics, because one of those grandchildren, 21-year-old Jacqueline Hernandez. She is one of seven athletes on the U.S. Snowboardcross team.

Angel beams with pride when he talks about his brave and talented granddaughter, who he says can beat anybody on any given day.

"Everybody knows me as Angel, but now it's 'you're the grandfather of Jacqueline, who's in the Olympics,'" Angel laughs. "Oh there is no words. I held her in my arms as a baby, she jumped in my lap when she grew up and I watched her race down slopes as a little girl."

He and his wife watched nervously when their granddaughter began participating in the sport at age 5.

"When you see a child go so fast, down a snow hill, it is frightening you know. Both my wife and I held hands and squeezed hands together you know," Angel said.

Hernandez's granddaughter will compete in a race that features jumps, drops and tight turns.

"If she was to win a medal, I won't be surprised. If she does not win a medal I won't be surprised either, because it is a very competitive, very competitive field," said Angel.

The grandparents can't wait to watch their granddaughter compete in her first event at 2 a.m. Sunday morning Feb. 16.

"It's a thrill just to see somebody who is a part of you doing that, and with the same aspect. I am silently saying a prayer for her safety."


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