Meet the US Women's Gymnastics Olympic Team

Meet the US Women's Gymnastics Olympic Team

Get to know just how amazing these women are (and yes, there are videos).

Let's talk about women's gymnastics for a moment. In case you're not familiar, there are four events female gymnasts compete in: uneven bars, balance beam, vault, and floor routines. They are expected to combine athleticism with artistry, more so than male gymnasts. And when you have the best of the best competing with each other, it's crucial to have a team that excels in just about everything.

The US Team Olympic Trials took place on Friday, July 8th, and Sunday, July 10th. Over those two days, many qualified gymnasts flipped and twisted and wowed the enormous crowd in San Jose, CA. Commentator and former Olympic gymnast Nastia Liukin mentioned that there were enough qualified gymnasts to send two teams to the Olympics and place first and second in Team finals. Alas, only five of those amazing gymnasts could be picked for the official USA team, with three alternates. With the Rio Olympic Games just around the corner, it's time to know just how the US Team will bring home the gold:

Simone Biles

Age: 19

Strengths: Balance beam, Floor, Vault

Why she was chosen: Simone Biles is a firecracker right now. She's already been referred to as one of the best gymnasts and athletes in the world, and she hasn't even gone to Rio yet. Simone Biles rarely makes a mistake, even when she has some of the most difficult routines in the competition. Her consistency seriously impressed the Olympic selection committee. She's a three-time world champion, a four-time national champion, and the expected winner of the all-around Olympic gold medal.

Aly Raisman

Age: 22

Strengths: Balance beam, Floor, Vault

Why she was chosen: After almost winning a bronze all-around medal in the 2012 London Olympic Games, Aly Raisman is back and more determined than ever. Like Simone Biles, she is very consistent with her strengths, especially her floor routine. Her first tumbling pass in that shows off six skills, which is both impressive and exhausting. Aly Raisman brings in physical and emotional strength to the team, as her previous experience with the Olympic Games gives her a leadership role.

Laurie Hernandez

Age: 16

Strengths: Balance beam, Floor, Uneven bars

Why she was chosen: Newcomer Laurie Hernandez performs like she's a veteran pro. This year is her first as a senior gymnast, but she has consistently proven herself to be incredibly talented and strong. Her spirited floor routine is a crowd (and judge) favorite, as she combines character acting with extreme athleticism. Laurie Hernandez also excels on the balance beam, with perfect poise and confidence. She is the first Latina gymnast to be on Team USA in 30 years, and is very proud to be representing her community.

Gabby Douglas

Age: 20

Strengths: Uneven bars, Vault

Why she was chosen: Anyone who watched the London Olympic Games knows who Gabby Douglas is. The 2012 all-around gold medalist returns with Aly Raisman for another chance at proving that she is one of the best gymnasts in the world. Although she's been a little shaky at some of the recent national championships, Gabby Douglas landed a spot on the USA Team for her her vault and her uneven bars routine. Her strength on the uneven bars is particularly important, since that is an event Team USA most needs help with. The focus she brings to her routines will be a tremendous help to the team in the Rio Games.

Madison Kocian

Age: 19

Strengths: Uneven bars

Why she was chosen: Madison Kocian was one of the world champions for the uneven bars, and she proved her skill to the selection committee. During the last few national competitions, she and Ashton Locklear were essentially neck-in-neck when it came to the uneven bars. However, Madison Kocian is able to contribute to floor and balance beam as well, making her a more well-rounded candidate than Locklear. She's very graceful on the uneven bars, a skill not always found in the strongest gymnasts.

MyKayla Skinner, Ashton Locklear, Ragan Smith - Alternates

Ages: 19, 18, 15

Strengths: Vault/floor, Uneven bars, Balance beam/floor (respectively)

Why they were chosen: All three of these ladies have one or two events in which they excel. MyKayla Skinner had one of, if not the, most difficult vaults of all the Olympic trial hopefuls. Ashton Locklear consistently soars through the uneven bars, almost beating Madison Kocian for the spot. Ragan Smith's floor routine to the Addams family theme is only outshadowed by her apparent ease on the balance beam. However, the Olympic selection committee chose the other gymnasts for their versatility, even though some of these athletes had better scores. Should one of the five members of Team USA be unable to perform at the Olympic Games, these women are ready to step in.

Cover Image Credit: John Cheng/USA Gymnastics

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5 Perks Of Having A Long-Distance Best Friend

The best kind of long-distance relationship.

Sometimes, people get annoyed when girls refer to multiple people as their "best friend," but they don't understand. We have different types of best friends. There's the going out together best friend, the see each other everyday best friend and the constant, low maintenance best friend.

While I'm lucky enough to have two out of the three at the same school as me, my "low maintenance" best friend goes to college six hours from Baton Rouge.

This type of friend is special because no matter how long you go without talking or seeing each other, you're always insanely close. Even though I miss her daily, having a long-distance best friend has its perks. Here are just a few of them...

1. Getting to see each other is a special event.

Sometimes when you see someone all the time, you take that person and their friendship for granted. When you don't get to see one of your favorite people very often, the times when you're together are truly appreciated.

2. You always have someone to give unbiased advice.

This person knows you best, but they probably don't know the people you're telling them about, so they can give you better advice than anyone else.

3. You always have someone to text and FaceTime.

While there may be hundreds of miles between you, they're also just a phone call away. You know they'll always be there for you even when they can't physically be there.

4. You can plan fun trips to visit each other.

When you can visit each other, you get to meet the people you've heard so much about and experience all the places they love. You get to have your own college experience and, sometimes, theirs, too.

5. You know they will always be a part of your life.

If you can survive going to school in different states, you've both proven that your friendship will last forever. You both care enough to make time for the other in the midst of exams, social events, and homework.

The long-distance best friend is a forever friend. While I wish I could see mine more, I wouldn't trade her for anything.

Cover Image Credit: Just For Laughs-Chicago

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ASU Baseball Is Already Knocking It Out Of The Park

All eyes are on the Sun Devils as they enter the national poll this previous week. The Sun Devils are the last unbeaten team left in the NCAA.


Starting off the season 18-0? Not bad, considering the Sun Devils' haven't gone undefeated at the start of the NCAA baseball season since 2010 when they went 24-0, but honestly where did this come from? In the 2017-18 season, the Devils finished off with 23-32, sitting towards the bottom of the Pac-12. Now they're the top of the conference, past the usual Pac-12 baseball powerhouse, Oregon State.

On a team with only 27 on the roster, which makes it the smallest team in the Pac-12, you wouldn't really expect such an explosive start to the season. Take a look at the improvements made, though, and you'll see why.

For starters, catcher Sam Ferri is back healthy and ready for this season to start with both pitchers Alec Marsh and RJ Dabovich, who've both thrown some great games, but if we're being honest here, have been a little inconsistent with a few errors, but have been backed up by the offense to get the job done.

On offense, Hunter Bishop and Spencer Torkelson are the ones to watch out for. Torkelson was named Pac-12 freshman of the year last year, after setting the Pac-12 freshman record of home runs. Now he's back with some deadly at-bat presence, as you can always expect a few RBIs from him, and also doing a great job at infield (#TorkBomb). Bishop's following suit, with major at-bats against Notre Dame, Michigan State, and Xavier.

Safe to say being ranked #23 right now is huge for a program that struggled majorly in the past seasons and has had some great players transfer out recently. Despite being faced with huge adversity before the season, this lineup is really producing some good stuff this year, and by being undefeated through the first month of play really exemplified that.

Hats off to Head Coach Tracy Smith for helping these young men after having the program suffer for a while.


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