The five member squad of the U.S. women’s gymnastics team — made up of Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas, Simone Biles, Laurie Hernandez, and Madison Kocian — have all eye on them during the Rio Olympics this summer. But it’s not just because of their raw talent and determination that already won them the gold in all-around team. Rather, it’s because, for the first time in the team’s history, over 5o percent of the members are women of color.
As the youngest member of the team, Laurie Hernandez is firecracker to watch out for. The 16-year-old Puerto Rican American has shined thus far in the games, and hopes that her success will inspire others.
“I feel I could be a role model to other Hispanic gymnasts interested in the sport,” Hernandez told The Guardian.”But I also want them to understand the importance of being focused, determined, and not giving up, despite all the struggles.”
At just 19 years-old, Simone Biles has completely dominate the world of gymnastics. With 14 world championship medals, Biles is considered the best gymnast that the world has ever seen thus far. While the most gold medals that an American woman gymnast has won is two, Biles is predicted that she could win at least five during the games in Rio. With two Olympic gold medals — one in all-around team and all-around individual — she is well on her way to making more history.
“To me records prove how mentally strong and powerful you are and how well you can handle pressure,” Biles told Reuters. “It’s inspiring to young athletes that there are records that can still be broken. It’s never over, there is always something else you can do to do more.
Veteran member, Gabby Douglas is back and ready to shine this Olympics in Rio. After taking home the gold in all-around at just 16 — the first individual medal ever won by an African American in gymnastics — during the London Olympics, Douglas’s name became synonymous Black excellence. The now, 20-year-old is ready prove she still here and killing it.
“I feel like through my whole career I’ve had to fight for everything,” Douglas told Marie Claire. “I’m used to it by now but at the same time it’s like, ‘Let’s do it and let’s keep fighting.’ That’s me and my demeanor.”
As the two-time captain of the gold medal winning team, Aly Raisman also has her own hidden diversity; The 22-year-old is one of the top Jewish athletes out there. While Raisman is the oldest member on the team, and known affectionately as “Grandma,” that doesn’t mean you should discount her skills. The Olympic veteran just won in silver in all-around competition right behind compatriot, Simone Biles.
At just 19-years-old, Madison Kocian will have all eyes her during the uneven bars — her main event. The Texan cinched her spot after an impressive display on the uneven bars at the Olympic Trials in San Jose, California earlier this year. Which comes as no surprise since she took the World Champion title on uneven bars in 2015.
Don’t forget to keep up with the Final Five’s progress through out the rest of the 2016 Rio Olympics!