The 2016 Olympics are almost upon us. It’s a time for the world’s best athletes to come together and compete for the title of world’s best. While we wait anxiously for them to begin we look back at some fun facts about gymnastics in the last Olympics. The team became known as the “Fab Five” and then the “Fierce Five,” so here are five fabulous fun facts about them.
1. Jordyn Wieber likes Olive Garden, Science, and holds a personal record for drug testing?
Jordyn Wieber tweeted in 2012 that she completed a drug test in just ten minutes, which was apparently a personal record. She would go on in the Olympics to win an all-around title, becoming one of only six American gymnasts to gain the honor of gaining the title. Her brother is also an athlete and accepted a football scholarship to college. Weiber turned down the opportunity to obtain a college scholarship by turning pro.
2. Sports Illustrated agreed these girls were some of the best.
Gymnasts don’t always get the recognition they deserve, but these girls managed to make the cover of Sports Illustrated. This made them the first gymnasts to accomplish this feat since Mary Lou Retton did in 1984. The magazine predicted these girls would win the gold and it turned out they were right. Aly Raisman brought home the bronze medal for her beam routine and gold medal for her floor routine in the individual events. McKayla Maroney snagged the silver medal in individual vault. Gabby Douglas won gold in the all-around event. And the team brought home the gold medal in the team finals.
3. It was Jordyn Wieber and McKayla Maroney who changed their nickname.
Jordyn Wieber and McKayla Maroney take credit for the change in the team’s nickname. Wieber and Maroney responded to complaints by a member of Michigan college basketball team, who had the nickname first. The member said they wished the girls had gone with a different name, so Wieber and Maroney decided to take it upon themselves to create a more creative and original name for the team. They decided on fierce because they said it described their floor routines. They seemed to be right since Ali Raisman took home the gold in the category.
4. McKayla Maroney and Kyla Ross were more than just teammates.
The whole 2012 U.S. Olympic team got along very well and became friends. However, for McKayla Maroney and Kyla Ross, their friendship was present long before they both made the team. Maroney and Ross met ten years before making the team when they both began training at Gym-Max in Orange County, California. Maroney would eventually transfer gyms, but the friendship lasted. The girls even made a deal dating back to elementary school that they would both make the Olympic team one day. While Ross did not receive an individual medal, Maroney would go on to win a silver medal on the vault.
5. The “Flying Squirrel” almost called it quits.
Gabby Douglas became known as the “Flying Squirrel” after the nickname from national team coordinator Martha Karolyi stuck. Her signature even was the parallel bars and she really could reach amazing heights on her releases. Douglas loved the nickname because she said squirrels were adventurous like her. However, after not qualifying 2011 World Champion all-around, she almost quit with only a few months to go before the team was announced. Luckily, she stuck with the sport and made the team. She became only the second African-American to receive an Olympic all-around medal. She received a gold medal for the all-around, so she is probably glad she didn’t give up on her dreams in the end.
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