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).
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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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College As Told By Junie B. Jones

A tribute to the beloved author Barbara Parks.
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The Junie B. Jones series was a big part of my childhood. They were the first chapter books I ever read. On car trips, my mother would entertain my sister and me by purchasing a new Junie B. Jones book and reading it to us. My favorite part about the books then, and still, are how funny they are. Junie B. takes things very literally, and her (mis)adventures are hilarious. A lot of children's authors tend to write for children and parents in their books to keep the attention of both parties. Barbara Park, the author of the Junie B. Jones series, did just that. This is why many things Junie B. said in Kindergarten could be applied to her experiences in college, as shown here.

When Junie B. introduces herself hundreds of times during orientation week:

“My name is Junie B. Jones. The B stands for Beatrice. Except I don't like Beatrice. I just like B and that's all." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 1)

When she goes to her first college career fair:

"Yeah, only guess what? I never even heard of that dumb word careers before. And so I won't know what the heck we're talking about." (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 2)

When she thinks people in class are gossiping about her:

“They whispered to each other for a real long time. Also, they kept looking at me. And they wouldn't even stop." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When someone asks her about the library:

“It's where the books are. And guess what? Books are my very favorite things in the whole world!" (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 27)

When she doesn't know what she's eating at the caf:

“I peeked inside the bread. I stared and stared for a real long time. 'Cause I didn't actually recognize the meat, that's why. Finally, I ate it anyway. It was tasty...whatever it was." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When she gets bored during class:

“I drew a sausage patty on my arm. Only that wasn't even an assignment." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 18)

When she considers dropping out:

“Maybe someday I will just be the Boss of Cookies instead!" (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 76)

When her friends invite her to the lake for Labor Day:

“GOOD NEWS! I CAN COME TO THE LAKE WITH YOU, I BELIEVE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 17)

When her professor never enters grades on time:

“I rolled my eyes way up to the sky." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 38)

When her friends won't stop poking her on Facebook:


“Do not poke me one more time, and I mean it." (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 7)

When she finds out she got a bad test grade:

“Then my eyes got a little bit wet. I wasn't crying, though." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 17)

When she isn't allowed to have a pet on campus but really wants one:

“FISH STICK! I NAMED HIM FISH STICK BECAUSE HE'S A FISH STICK, OF COURSE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 59)

When she has to walk across campus in the dark:

“There's no such thing as monsters. There's no such thing as monsters." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 12)

When her boyfriend breaks her heart:

“I am a bachelorette. A bachelorette is when your boyfriend named Ricardo dumps you at recess. Only I wasn't actually expecting that terrible trouble." (Junie B. Jones Is (almost) a Flower Girl, p. 1)

When she paints her first canvas:


"And painting is the funnest thing I love!" (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 61)

When her sorority takes stacked pictures:

“The biggie kids stand in the back. And the shortie kids stand in the front. I am a shortie kid. Only that is nothing to be ashamed of." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 7)

When she's had enough of the caf's food:

“Want to bake a lemon pie? A lemon pie would be fun, don't you think?" (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed p. 34)

When she forgets about an exam:

“Speechless is when your mouth can't speech." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 54)

When she finds out she has enough credits to graduate:

“A DIPLOMA! A DIPLOMA! I WILL LOVE A DIPLOMA!" (Junie B. Jones is a Graduation Girl p. 6)

When she gets home from college:

"IT'S ME! IT'S JUNIE B. JONES! I'M HOME FROM MY SCHOOL!" (Junie B. Jones and some Sneaky Peaky Spying p. 20)

Cover Image Credit: OrderOfBooks

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The NBA Draft Lottery In A Nutshell

A quick overview of the 2019 NBA lottery and which teams got the best picks.

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The NBA draft lottery took place on Tuesday night where all of the NBA teams were looking to see their fate heading into the 2019 draft. Many people know that anything can truly happen with a lottery. This year proved that statement again as the New Orleans Pelicans claimed the number one overall pick. The Pelicans had just a six percent chance of claiming the number one pick yet they still beat the odds. The Pelicans are now in the driver seat with picking up top prospect Zion Williamson from Duke University. Most teams that knew they weren't making the playoffs tried to tank this year in order to pursue the college basketball icon.

As for the remaining top five picks, the Memphis Grizzlies got the number two overall pick, the New York Knicks with the number three overall pick, the Los Angeles Lakers at number four, and finally the Cleveland Cavaliers at number five. Most of the teams with the highest percentage of claiming the #1 overall pick did not even make it in the top five which is rare. An example of this is the Phoenix Suns who had one of the worst records in the NBA this past season with a record of 19-63. The Suns got screwed over at this year's lottery where they claimed the #6 pick.

The teams that got the most out of this year's lottery were the New Orleans Pelicans, Memphis Grizzlies, Los Angeles Lakers, and the Atlanta Hawks. The Atlanta Hawks, in my opinion, got the benefit of the doubt this year as they have secured two spots in the first 10 draft picks of the 2019 NBA Draft. There is a lot of talent in this draft class so this is a make or break draft for a lot of these struggling teams. Prospects like RJ Barrett, Ja Morant, Jarrett Culver, and Cam Reddish. A lot of these prospects are ready to make an impact on whatever team they end up on. As for the projected number one overall pick Zion Williamson, he has gotten compared to NBA greats such as Shaquille O'Neal and Charles Barkley.

During an interview with Bill Simmons on his podcast show, NBA star Kevin Durant said that Zion is a once-in-a-generation athlete. The 2019 NBA draft should be quite interesting to see where these top prospects end up playing for. One thing is for almost certain in that the New Orleans Pelicans are going to end up with Zion Williamson with the number one overall pick in this year's draft. With that being said the Pelicans could have quite a bright future with this future star and hopefully, the rookie can help keep NBA star Anthony Davis in New Orleans. Anything can happen though during the NBA draft and we will just have to wait and see what happens.

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