SAN JOSE, Calif. -- They are pound for pound arguably the toughest athletes in sports. Their pain thresholds alone are off the charts. Yet by Sunday's end of the two-day U.S. Olympic team trials -- the last stop in the months-long, intentionally ...
Three-time world champion Simone Biles will be joined by 2012 Olympians Gabby Douglas and Aly Raisman.Â
20 years ago, there wereÂ the Magnificent Seven and the first ever Olympic team gold for U.S. female gymnasts. Four years ago, the Fierce Five vaulted into history when they outscored the competition by nearly five points to win their own golds.
And now there will be the five women on 2016 squad, which could be the most talented team yet. Leading the pack will be Simone Biles, who is already a legend in her sport with three consecutive world championships all-around titles. She earned an automatic spot on the team by posting the top all-around score, 123.250 points, over the two nights of Trials competition. Despite a fall off the balance beam on night two, something she almost never does, Biles won by 2.100 points.
By Biles'Â side will be two gymnasts from 2012, Olympic all-around champion Gabby Douglas and Olympic floor champion Aly Raisman.Â They will be the first gymnasts to make two consecutive Olympic teams since Dominique Dawes and Amy Chow in 2000. Douglas will also be the first all-around gold medalist to return to a second Olympics since Nadia Comaneci in 1980.
Madison Kocian was chosen for the team for her medal-worthy uneven bars routine. At last year's world championships, Kocian tied with three other gymnasts to earn gold in a wild uneven bars final. She also can perform reliably on the other three events, allowing her to provide back-up for her teammates in case of injury.
Finally, Laurie Hernandez will make her Olympic debut in her first year as a senior gymnast. Just 16 years old, Hernandez was the junior all-around champion at the 2015 P&G Championships. She had no problem fitting in with the more experienced gymnasts, winning an all-around bronze at the senior national championships a few weeks ago. Hernandez also counts uneven bars as one of her best events, but truly shines on floor. Her dance background and supremely expressive face make her a crowd favorite whenever she performs.
Three alternate athletes were also named: Ragan Smith, Ashton Locklear and MyKayla Skinner. They will train alongside the team in the few weeks leading up to the Olympics, but won't compete unless one of the gymnasts on the team gets injured and can't perform.
NBC Olympics,2016 Rio Summer Olympics,