The Olympics are inching closer and bringing with them one of the most beloved sporting events of the Games: women’s artistic gymnastics. Five hard-working young women have been selected to represent the United States of America at the Games of the XXXI Olympiad in Rio de Janeiro. Let’s meet them and see what the world expects from them.
1. Simone Biles
Simone walks into these Games with quite a few medals under her belt, and she is favored to win several more in Rio. Simone represents everything gymnastics stands for: power, execution, competitiveness, and good sportsmanship. Fans expect Simone to walk away from these Games with five gold medals. One gold will be for the team competition, where she will help represent the United States as one of the best gymnastics programs in the world. As the best all-around gymnast in the world, Simone stands unprecedented in fans' minds as the favorite to win the all around competition. Matching her competitors with difficulty and surpassing them with execution, Simone could easily take the vault gold this year. Her prowess and stability on the balance beam have helped her prove her worth on this event, but don’t let her ease on the four-inch plank fool you; the beam is the great equalizer and the outcomes are thus unpredictable. Her favorite event, the floor exercise, is the only event on which she has an eponymous skill (pictured above). With her dynamic power, the floor gold is hers to lose.
2. Alexandra Raisman
After two gold medals and a bronze medal at the 2012 Olympics, Aly would surely love to match or surpass her old self. She represents the American dream: hard work, leadership, and a love of sleeping. Along with a team medal, Aly will most likely try for the all-around in qualifying but will be battling one of her teammates for the second spot in the final. Being the bronze medalist on beam in London, Aly will hope to make the beam finals at her second Olympics, but as mentioned, the balance beam promises a medal to no one. In 2012, Aly became the first American woman to earn a gold medal on the floor exercise. This time around, she is favored to take second to her teammate Simone.
3. Laurie Hernandez
A first year senior, Laurie has gained the world’s attention with her expressive and catchy floor routine. As the second best all-arounder at the USA Olympic Trials, Laurie is favored to compete for a chance to make the all around final. As mentioned, only two gymnasts per country can make a final, and the United States has four of the best all-arounders in the world on their team. Qualifying will be insane. Laurie could make the uneven bars final, but with only eight spots in the final, she faces stiff competition. Laurie shines on beam, bringing artistry, fluidity, and difficulty. As in every competition, the balance beam promises to take names and fans can only cross their fingers and hope that Laurie can make the final.
4. Gabrielle Douglas
As the star of women’s gymnastics at the previous Olympics, Gabby became a two-time Olympic champion, winning the team final and the all around final. After some underwhelming last few performances before the Olympics, fans hope that she can pull everything together on training to earn a place in the all around. Selected for her uneven bars, fans speculate that she might have to sit out on that event in the qualifying, which would take away her spot at the uneven bars final and also take away her chance for the all around final. Gabby has style and rhythm on the balance beam, and when she is on she is on. Fans can only hope that she brings her "angry beam" which has the potential to at the least make the final.
5. Madison Kocian
Brought for her world-class uneven bars routine, Madison is a favorite to make the uneven bars final. With what promises to be one of the most challenging bars finals in recent memory, Madison must perform her best to be considered for a medal. While not a strong all-arounder, Madison made the team also because of her ability to fill in on any other event if needed.