The Fierce Five, aka the 2012 US Olympic Gold Medal winning women’s gymnastics team, was inducted into the USA Gymnastics hall of Fame on August 16 in Hartford, CT. They were recognized during the 2013 P&G Gymnastics Championships, Aug. 15-18 at the XL Center, and the USA Gymnastics National Congress and Trade Show in Hartford, Conn. As part of USA Gymnastics' 50th anniversary celebration, members of the USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame and the entire 2012 U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Team were acknowledged during the P&G Championships, which featured the country's top gymnasts vying for national titles and berths on the U.S. National Team.
The U.S. Women's Olympic Gymnastics Team made history at the 2012 Olympic Games in London by winning the United States' second-ever women's Olympic team gold medal in gymnastics and the first at an Olympics held outside the USA. Their runaway victory of more than a five-point margin came 16 years after Atlanta's Magnificent Seven captured Team USA's first team gold in 1996. In addition to the team gold, Douglas won the all-around gold medal; Raisman captured the floor exercise gold and balance beam bronze medals; and Maroney earned the vault silver medal.
Since fame and travel after the Olympics, the young women have settled into various goal pursuits. Gabby Douglas moved back to Iowa this spring and returned to training in the gym. Her goal is to return to competition at the U.S. championships next year.
Life for the 17-year-old definitely has simplified since moving back to Iowa.
The days of jet setting around the country for promotional appearances have been put on hold; besides training, Douglas is now focusing on smaller victories like finally getting her driving learner’s permit, which she did this summer. She’s also finishing up her junior year of high school through an online program.
“After the Olympics I was running around doing a lot of media appearances,” she said. “Then it shut down. When I went back to the gym, I maybe did a couple appearances, but they came to me, that way it wouldn’t affect my training schedule, which I am very thankful for.”
Fame came to Douglas in a hurry. She came into 2012 barely known outside of hardcore gymnastics circles and by August was an Olympic team and all-around champion — making history as the first black champion as well. Along the way she captivated fans with her bubbly personality and her story of leaving home in Virginia Beach, Va., to live with a host family and train with renowned coach Liang Chow in Des Moines.
After the Games, Douglas became an A-list celebrity, crisscrossing the country with a gymnastics tour, tumbling across the stage at MTV’s Video Music Awards, writing two books and collecting a Teen Choice Award for best female athlete.
McKayla Maroney and Kyla Ross are back competing this year. Ross, the youngest member of the Olympic squad, closed out the first day of competition Thursday with the second best all-around score at 59.750. Maroney is only competing in two events, but she ended Day 1 with the best score on vault (15.500) and the second-best score on the floor exercise (14.850).
Aly Raisman, the 2012 U.S. Olympic team captain who also won Olympic gold on floor exercise and bronze on balance beam, is still considering her options but said she plans to return to the gym in a few weeks.
Jordyn Wieber, the 2011 world all-around champion, said she is working out again and tentatively is eyeing a 2014 return to elite competition. In the short term, she’s preparing to start her freshman year at UCLA, where she plans to continue training.
“I was going to go there and do (collegiate) gymnastics but then I went pro,” she said. “So I still wanted the chance to go out there and go to that school because it’s a really excellent school.”
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