[Photo Source; Entertainment Tonight]
On July 10th of 2016, the final five women were chosen for the 2016 Olympics. Laurie Hernandez, Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas, Aly Raisman and Madison Kocian, will all be representing the USA at the 2016 Olympics. The stories of struggle, power and conquest have been some of the largest narratives coming out of the announcement of the newly named Olympic team.
The beauty of this impeccable team is that every single team member has an amazing story of personal perseverance that keeps them going.
When looking at this young team full of legends we have to start off with the youngest and newest on the team, Laurie Hernandez. Hernandez who is being called the “human emoji”, is joining the very rare club of Latinas who have completed in the Olympics. She will be the first Latina born in the US to ever compete in the Olympic Games in the last 30 years. Her strengths in floor routines and beam are some of the reasons why she will dominate at the Olympics this summer. Hernandez hails from Old Bridge, NJ and will be changing the game for Latinas everywhere when she hits that stage in Rio this summer.
Aly Raisman, who was most recently voted the captain of the 2016 Olympic team will be coming back to the 2016 Olympics in even more unprecedented fashion. Aly and Gabby Douglas are creating history this go around by being only the second group of gymnasts to return to the Olympics back to back. Only Dominique Dawes, the first African American to compete in the sport and her teammate Amy Chow. Raisman began gymnastics at the early age of two and was competing on serious level by age 10. Raisman credits her dedication and ability to push through from her mother who was also a gymnast until she had Raisman.
Madison Kocian, is known in the world of gymnastics as the ruler of the uneven bars. Kocian at the age of 18 has committed to attending UCLA in the fall but will be finishing up some small summer goals before becoming a college freshman such as competing and hopefully winning at the 2016 summer Olympics in a few weeks. Coming from Dallas, Texas, Koican’s parents had her training at the Olympic training facility by the age of 5. She holds her national championship in the uneven bars and will *fingers crossed* dominate and receive her first gold medal this year at the Olympic Games. Her ability to just finish school, make it to her practices and be ready for a summer full of pressure is something Koican is taking in strides.
Gabby Douglas is probably considered the recognized star of the team. Douglas is a part of a legacy of few who have returned to the Olympics consecutively. This year after taking some time off right after her wins in the 2012 Olympics Douglas had to really get back on her feet to get back to the rigorous schedule of preparing her body for this year’s games. From being able to train exclusive on her bettering her vault and beam routines Douglas is ready to get another gold medal.
Simone Biles, could possibly be one of the best gymnast in the world and she’s only 19 years old. Biles has been dominating the sport since she began at the ripe of 6 years old. One of the biggest challenges Biles has faced is trying to remain healthy and injury free as she continues to push her body harder and harder each year. The expectations of Biles as she enters the games is that her history of near perfection in the sport will get her more than a few medals this year in Rio. Biles comes to Rio with a huge support system of family, friends and coaches that are beyond ready to support her dreams. She is one to watch this year at the games.
All of these young ladies have made huge sacrifices to be where they are. From school, friends, family and finances, all of five of these young women get just as excited about their favorite reality TV shows as the rest of us, they just so happen to be training 4-5 hours a day as Olympic athletes. All five of these girls are regular everyday girls who have given themselves to being the best of the best in the world of gymnastics.
Written by Clarissa Brooks