• Jessica Rieder

US Gymnastics Team: Through the Decade

The US Gymnastics Team has achieved a lot in the last decade, including dominating two Summer Olympics in 2012 and 2016.

In the 2012 Olympic Games in London, the US team won a gold medal for team all-around as well as for individual all-around. Their lineup included Jordyn Wieber, Alexandra Raisman, Kyla Ross, McKayla Maroney, and their individual all-around champion, Gabby Douglas. Alexandra Raisman also won a gold metal for vault. They were the third best country at the event, with three gold medals, one silver and two bronze.

In 2016, the games were held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The bar was set high, and they entered the competition with a dream team lineup. Returning to represent the US Olympics were Alexandra Raisman and Gabby Douglas, along with handpicked newcomers Simon Biles, Laurie Hernandez and Madison Kocian. The team, known as the Final Five, won gold in team all-around, and went into individual event awards very strong. Simon Biles produced the most individual medals, winning gold in individual all-around, vault and floor and receiving bronze in balance beam. Alexandra Raisman came out of the games with two silver medals, one for individual all-around and one for floor. Madison Kocian left with a silver medal in the uneven bars and Laurie Hernandez finished with a silver metal in balance beam.

Outside of the Olympic Games successes, the US team has also found incredible success in the World Artistic Gymnastics Championships. In fact, our very own Simon Biles is the all-time most decorated gymnast from these World Championships, both in all-around medals and individual event medals. On top of that, the team won a gold medal for all-around every year except one during Biles’ 2013 to 2019 reign. Alexandra Raisman was another force behind the US Gymnastics Team in the World Championships. While she was on the team from 2010 to 2016, the team won two gold all-around medals, one in 2011 and the other in 2015. Gabby Douglas was another member of the 2011 and 2015 World Championship team victories.

All the victories of the US gymnastics team sets an example for other girls who want to achieve the same thing. There are so many aspiring gymnasts that look up to the examples set by past and current Olympic Team members. They even make an impact on our very own La Follette gymnasts. “My goals for gymnastics in general is to improve but also to push myself as a person to get better, and seeing others succeed inspires me to work even harder,” Thea Bender (10), a La Follette gymnast, stated. “It helps me understand that other people have some of the same troubles I do with gymnastics but they can always overcome them,” she finished.

After crazy successes for the US Women’s Gymnastics teams of five this decade, in 2020 the number will be brought down to four. The decision was made by the International Governing Body of Gymnastics in 2015, heavily due to its then-president, Bruno Gandri. It’ll be a big change for the international gymnastics community, but the new rule is supposed to focus more on all-around athletes instead of event specialists, as well as help smaller countries’ chances of success.

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