Gymnastics News Network
By: Nicole Chappell
As the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro has begun to unfold, we have had the pleasure of witnessing arguably the greatest American gymnastics team the world has ever seen. With a Gold team final title and two Gold and Silver All-Around Medalists under their belt, the U.S. women are on fire and more importantly, unbeatable. With event finals taking place over the next week, we are confident they will continue their winning streak, sweeping the competition clean with their consistency and confidence. With such an incredibly talented young group of gymnasts making up the infamous “Final Five”, what should we expect to see from American gymnastics in the 2020 Olympics? Will there ever be another team like the “Final Five”? How will the retirement of Marta Karolyi affect future U.S. teams?
Unlike other American Olympic Gymnastics Teams in the past such as the “Magnificent Seven”, or the “Fierce Five”, this 2016 Gold Medal team took it upon themselves to create a name that was both fitting and meaningful. With the end of the Karolyi era coming to a close at the completion of the Rio Olympic Games, Aly Raisman, Simone Biles, Madison Kocian, Gabby Douglas, and Laurie Hernandez decided that the name, the “Final Five” would be a dedication of honor and respect to the ending of Marta’s incredible legacy as National Team Coordinator. We just hope this does not foreshadow a “final” farewell to gold.
With Marta’s retirement nearing, a new National Team Coordinator will be chosen to take her place. Depending on the candidate chosen, this means either continued success for U.S. Women’s gymnastics, or the end to an unbeatable reputation. Choosing a National Team Coordinator that encompasses Marta’s vision for the Olympic training program will be both wise and essential. Like they say, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. With her unique and effective training program in place, Marta has been able to produce numerous Olympic gymnastics champions since her start in 2001. However, if a new set of operations put into play are unsuccessful, this could mean serious repercussions for the future 2020 Olympic team.
As we have seen in Rio so far, American gymnasts are blowing their competitors out of the water with their execution, consistency and high difficulty skills. The U.S. produces scores far beyond their competitive counterparts based on these areas alone. If the new National Team Coordinator can continue this regime over the next four years, pushing the bar for future gymnasts, building an Olympic team similar to the “Final Five” may be possible.
We are unsure at this time if any of the “Final Five” besides Laurie Hernandez have their eyes on the 2020 Olympics. Simone Biles, arguably the greatest gymnast in the history of the sport, has set an immensely high bar for future American National Team members. If Simone chooses to not return for another Olympic Games, it is likely that it will be a very long time before a gymnast with that kind of talent is discovered. Aly Raisman and Gabby Douglas will most likely not be returning for a third Olympic journey, while Madison Kocian is headed to UCLA beginning this fall. If a commitment is given from Biles and Hernandez to work toward a second Olympic appearance, this will mean high hopes for the 2020 Women’s team. We are curious to see who is chosen as National Team Coordinator, as well as how the future of U.S. Women’s gymnastics will evolve without Marta.
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