A month ago, the names Aly Raisman, Simone Biles, Laurie Hernandez, Gabby Douglas and Madison Kocian might not mean much to many people. Though the names of Aly and Gabby might raise a small memory of the previous Olympics, the others wouldn't mean very much to the casual civilian. With women's Olympic gymnastics competitions ending on Monday, the five girls have become historic for their sport, and for their country. Each girl on the team brought something incredibly special to the Olympics this year.
Their name? A self-titled, The Final Five. why? This year was Márta Károlyi's last year as head coach and national team coordinator for the USA. They are Márta's final five, as well as the final team of five women to be sent to the Olympics. The next year's Olympic Gymnastics team will be a team of four women. Therefore, these five women named themselves the Final Five. The name stuck and they will be remembered for much more than their creative name.
Overall, the women's team won nine medals, which is more than the previous record of eight. Another win for the team was the second consecutive team gold for the USA, which is the first back to back team gold for the USA ever. Other firsts are the first woman from the USA getting a gold on vault, Simone Biles holding that new title as well as many others for herself this games.
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To go through each team member, we can start with Gabby Douglas. Gabby Douglas is a 20-year-old originally from Virginia. She was known for her come from behind moments at the 2012 Olympics. Hardly anyone suspected she'd make the team at all, but did and managed to get a gold medal. Her addition to the team scored the USA the first all-around team gold in history. Her contribution to the 2016 Olympics scored an incredible back to back all-around team gold.
Beyond the team gold, Gabby was a strong competitor in all of her events. While she may have only made it to the bars finals, in the scoring for the all-around, she placed third. If there hadn't been a rule that only two gymnasts can go to the all-around finals, then Gabby Douglas would have gone third behind both of her teammates Simone Biles, and Aly Raisman. Beyond a second team gold medal, she made it back to her second Olympics. For many gymnasts, their careers are over with one Olympic cycle. Both Aly and Gabby made it back for a second round and brought back gold. This shows just how hard and how incredibly Gabby Douglas is.
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Continuing, there is Madison Kocian. Madison Kocian was a historic gymnast far before the Olympics. In the past World Championship, she got into a four way for the gold in the individual uneven bars event with two Russian gymnasts (Victoria Komova, Daria Spiridonova) and a Chinese gymnast (Fan Yilin). This sort of tie has never been awarded in the history of women's gymnastics. Nothing similar has happened since the 1922 World Championships, where there was a five-way silver tie on the men's pommel horse. This historic tie in women's gymnastics is what helped put Madison onto the Olympic team as an uneven bars specialist.
When it comes to the Olympics, Madison almost had a sure fire spot on the team after being a reigning champion. Her one event was on the uneven bars, and she managed to score a silver medal, falling just .067 points short of the gold. The gold was given to the 2012 Olympic championship on the very event, Aliya Mustafina. Madison was a strong a competitor, qualifying for the event in first place. Madison is going home with a gold for her teamwork and a silver for her individual performance on bars. Regardless, she is going home as an Olympic Champion on a historic team.
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Laurie Hernandez, youngest on the team, had a chance to make history at this Olympic Games as well. The 16-year-old, New Jersey native, Laurie Hernandez the Olympics are in her first year of international competitions as a senior member (16 and above) of gymnastics. As you can imagine, with the Olympics being one of your first big events as a first-year senior athlete, there must have been crazy pressure. You couldn't tell at all the way she performed, with grace, elegance, and absolute passion. With her skills on the vault, balance beam, and floor, she helped to secure a gold medal for her team. She lives forever on as a team member of the Final Five, as well as an Olympic gold medalist.
Beyond her team gold medal, Laurie managed to secure herself a silver medal on the balance beam in the individual event. In the qualifying rounds, Laurie scored an overall fourth place on floor exercise, (behind her teammates Simone and Aly) but much like Gabby, only two per country can participate in event finals. Meaning, Laurie could only compete on the balance beam where she qualified second behind Simone Biles. Though she may have qualified behind Simone Biles, she actually got the silver medal with .133 points between her and the gold medal from Sanne Wevers, with Simone getting the Bronze. The 16-year-old still made history by helping her country win their first back to back gold medal, as well as taking own silver for her own history. With Laurie Hernandez doing as well as she is, she's sure to stick around in the sport for a long time.
For 22-year-old Aly Raisman, this Olympics wasn't her first go. The Massachusetts native, along with two-time Olympic teammate Gabby Douglas, was a part of the historic Fierce Five of the 2012 Olympics that brought the USA the first all-around team gold ever. Aly's contribution to the team also helped her team win back to back all around team gold medals. Aly had past Olympic experience, as well as having a better than ever comeback that put her on the team. Aly was also elected as team captain by her teammates and continues to show she's just as supportive and excited for her teammates as she is for her own accomplishments.
Beyond the team all-around gold, Aly won the silver in the individual all-around. She also won the silver on the floor exercise, what she had previously gotten gold on in the past Olympics. Though Simone and Aly got one and two in all around a few rounds, Aly proved to be almost as happy for her teammate as her teammate was for herself. Aly took the silver losing the gold for the all-around by .1 points, and she lost the gold on floor by .466 points. Though between the two USA athletes, there was no bad blood, as they were seen holding hands nervously between events and cheering one another on. Though they might not be first, I'm sure Aly is happy with her two silver medals and her gold. She had been on two back to back all around champion teams at the Olympics, as well as making two Olympics back to back. Her comeback, as well as her second Olympics being more successful than the first, continues to prove to show what an incredible athlete she is.
Last, but certainly not least, Simone Biles. Simone Biles is a 19-year-old powerhouse of a gymnast. She has single handily scored herself the title of most decorated women's gymnast. She went into the Olympic's as the favorite to win gold for every event she was in. Before the Olympics Simone held the title for the first women to win three consecutive all-around world championships, as well as having one of the highest difficulties on many events. Going into the Olympics, she was solid, graceful, and held up against all of the pressure. Her contribution to the team was essential and helped land her and her teammates gold medals.
After the Olympics, Simone took the title for four consecutive all-around world championship titles, one being an Olympic gold medal. Simone took four gold medals at the 2016 Olympics, which ties the record for most gold medals won by a woman in gymnastics. It also makes her the first woman to win four gold medals in one Olympics from the USA. Beyond her total of medals, she was the first United States woman to take a gold medal on vault. Simone won gold in the all-around team, all-around individual, vault, and floor events. She also got bronze on the balance beam, one medal below her teammate Laurie Hernandez. Her accomplishments at the Olympics were absolutely incredible, and she proves to be one of the best athletes in the world, and almost definitely in her sport. Simone Biles proves time and time again to be an absolutely legendary athlete.
The 2016 Olympics proved to be historic for the United States in many sports, and for many athletes. Women's gymnastics proved to the world that they could not only earn a second consecutive team gold medal but all but obliterate all other teams in the process. While most teams have a point or decimals indifference, the United States took gold by a massive 9.959 points. The Final Five proved that they are the best of the best earning an overall 9 medals at this Olympic cycle. The women proved to be strong and talented competitors, earning themselves a second consecutive team gold. As long as the United States keeps producing such incredible gymnasts, they'll keep winning. Much like the Fierce Five, the Final Five are another historic, talented, legendary team for the United States, their sport, as well as to themselves.