The women’s gymnastics events are all over. Each medal has a new home with a very proud owner. The lion’s share of that hardware is coming home to the United States thanks to “The Final Five.” This nickname is for the last five women to be trained under the tutelage of famed national team coordinator, Marta Karolyi, before she retires. The five gymnasts are Simone Biles, Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas, Laurie Hernandez and Madison Kocian, and they straight owned the Rio games. This is how it all happened.
The team all-around. The first leg of the journey. Each gymnast does vault, balance beam, uneven bars and floor exercise and the highest combined team score wins. Team USA shined as they easily dominated the field. The final standing saw the crew up a whopping eight points ahead as they captured gold. It was a great start but there was much more to come.
Individual all-around. By rule, each country can only send two gymnasts so Simone Biles and Aly Raisman got the nod. This is no knock on the others. Actually, Gabby Douglas averaged higher scores than any of the athletes competing for the other countries. She might have been the only person to give Biles and Raisman a challenge as she was the gold medalist in this event back in 2012. That’s how strong this team is. We have Douglas, the defending champ on the bench. That’s wild. No hard feelings I’m sure. All five are team first. Do it for Marta. Biles wins gold, Raisman silver.
On to the solo events. First was vault. Only Simone Biles qualified for the finals. Don’t worry she won gold and yes, she stuck the landing. Next up, the uneven bars. Both Douglas and Kocian made the medal round but Russia’s Aliya Mustafina took the top prize. Madison Kocian won silver after an incredible routine. She is only 16, so remember her now because she will be around.
Balance beam would be the only other gymnastic gold the American women would be denied. Sanne Wevers of the Neatherlands saw to that with a nearly flawless run. Beside her on the podium was Laurie Hernandez with the silver and Simone Biles with the bronze.
The last event, floor exercise. Biles and Raisman once again blew the doors off the joint with a super-heroic display. Biles could not be stopped. The 19-year-old claimed her forth gold of the Olympics. Her teammate, Raisman, followed up her 2012 floor exercise gold with a 2016 silver one. She too has a nice collection going.
The US women’s gymnastics program is legit and this isn’t news. They rocked the London Olympics in 2012 and all the big tournaments leading up to Rio. Then smashed the 2016 games. There is no reason to think this will change in 2020. Biles is the best in the world and she is surrounded by amazing talent. Reporters asked Raisman if she would retire but she hinted that maybe we could see her in at the next games. So who knows?
America leads in the overall medal count and more than a few of those puppies are thanks to the women on our excellent gymnastics team. So let’s take a second to honor them and their effort. And if any of The Final Five are reading this, I just want to say, I see you. I see your hard work and I thank you for it. Thank you for representing our country with class and grace.
Can’t wait for Tokyo 2020.