‘Final Five’ dominate team all-around, bring home gold at Rio Olympics
“We are the Final Five!”
The moment when their all-around women’s team gold medal was cemented at the 2016 Rio Olympics, Team USA huddled, threw their hands up in triumph and revealed their perfect team nickname. Team captain Aly Raisman, Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas, Laurie Hernandez and Madison Kocian fulfilled their Olympic destiny with 12 flawless routines Tuesday afternoon.
The squad’s nickname had been the cause of much speculation in recent months. After the Maginficent Seven in 1996 and the Fierce Five in 2012 (of which Raisman and Douglas were members), many had wondered what the athletes would choose. The group chose to keep the name to themselves until that perfect moment. This Olympics is the last in which five team members will be allowed. In 2020, only 4 members can compete.
— USA Gymnastics (@USAGym) August 9, 2016
The name, however, is especially personal to the team. These Games are the last for gymnastics coaching legend Martha Karolyi. Karolyi has coached or lead Team USA for 11 straight Olympics. She has been national team coordinator for USA Gymnastics since 2001. She is well-known for her “tough love” approach. Even with powerhouse athletes like the Final Five, Karolyi pushes them to be better than even they knew they could be.
Over her storied career, Martha and husband Bela have coached many champions. She said she has only shed tears at a gymnastics meet twice — the first was at her first Olympics in 1976 when the couple coached Nadia Comaneci to a gold medal in the all-around.
The second. The second was Tuesday night when Raisman confided in Karolyi the team’s nickname — chosen to honor their beloved mentor.
“I’m not a sentimental person, honestly,” she said after the competition, “I’m known for being tough, so I felt like what’s happening to me, honestly.”
“When Aly told me the name of the team is the Final Five, that is the moment,” she told journalists after the meet.
— Aly & AJ Michalka (@alyandaj) August 10, 2016
The squad dominated the competition, besting silver medalist Russia and bronze medalist China by more than 8 points — the largest margin since the new scoring system was implemented in 2006. The victory marks the only time Team USA women’s gymnastics won team gold in two straight Olympics.
Although it may be the final Olympics for some of the Final Five, the team has and will continue to inspire young girls for years to come. The next Aly Raisman, Simon Biles, Gabby Douglas, Laurie Hernandez or Madison Kocian could have very well been watching the Final Five shine on the gymnastics’ world biggest stage Tuesday night.
— Carly Patterson (@CarlyPatterson) August 9, 2016
The full replay of the team all-around can be found at www.nbcolympics.com. The Final Five will be back on the mat Thursday for the event finals.