The Road to Rio is nearing its final stretch for the 2016 Olympic athletes. This weekend marked the official trials for the USA Women’s Gymnastics team. Although many athletes were more than qualified to represent the States in Rio, competing against the best in the world means absolute perfection. Five athletes proved they are as close to perfect as it gets. We did our research for you on what these amazing women can do (including links to videos of the Trials). Here’s what to expect in the 2016 Olympic Games coming in August:
Who she is: A shooting star in the gymnastics world, Biles has been called one of the greatest athletes around. She seems to rarely make mistakes and has held a high lead on her teammates throughout the competitions this year. Biles is a three-time world champion and a four-time national champion; not only will she help Team USA to a team title, but she is expected to win the all-around gold medal. She’s mastered one of the hardest vaults around and rarely fumbles the landing. Basically, you could fill a book of words to describe Simone Biles, but “consistent” is what got her 1st place in the Olympic Trials this year.
Who she is: Although she took some time off gymnastics after her success with the 2012 Olympics in London, Aly Raisman is back and better than ever. Like Biles, Raisman is strong in just about everything. Her floor exercise has gained much attention, especially with her crazy first tumbling pass showing off six skills in approximately five seconds. She is also solid on the balance beam, an event where the chances of screwing up really increase. Additionally, Raisman’s previous experience at the 2012 Games gives her some leadership qualities to help the others on the team.
Who she is: Though the youngest and least experienced on the team, Laurie Hernandez works like a pro. This year is her first as a senior gymnast, but she’s killing it in many events, and placed 3rd in the Trials. Her floor routines have been crowd favorites, as her artistry and performance add to her athleticism. Hernandez is precise on the balance beam and the uneven bars as well. She is also the first Latina on Team USA in the last 30 years, and is honored to be representing Latina/Hispanic women as well.
Who she is: Even if you missed the 2012 Olympics, Gabby Douglas was everywhere. She became a household name and won the all-around gold medal in London. After taking time off and starring in a reality show Douglas Family Gold, she started training again in 2014 for her second Olympic Games. Douglas has struggled with her routines this year, placing 5th at nationals and 7th at the Trials. But if she can pull it together (and we know she will), her skill at the uneven bars will be a massive help to Team USA, especially as uneven bars is an event they always struggle with.
Strengths: Uneven bars
Who she is: Though this is her first time at the Olympic Games, Madison Kocian is the defending world champion for the uneven bars. Like Douglas, she is expected to really help with Team USA in this particular event. But her skills also mean she will be contending for an individual medal as well. During the Trials, she and Ashton Locklear were constantly compared for their talents on uneven bars. However, Kocian’s skills on the floor and on the balance beam made her a stronger choice over Locklear, who is an alternate for Team USA along with MyKayla Skinner and Ragan Smith.