Simone Biles, Aly Raisman, Laurie Hernandez, Madison Kocian and Gabby Douglas – the famous five faces of American gymnastics, are athletes that few might not be familiar with. They became the talk of the town when they won gold at the 2016 Olympic Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, as part of the U.S. women’s gymnastics team. And since then, everything about them – from their fashion choices to celebrity crushes, has been front page news.
However, it’s not these five alone that have made gymnastics popular. After its early development in ancient Greece, where it was used to train men for warfare, gymnastics was included in the first Olympics. The sport gradually made its way into the education sector. Not long after that, the Federation of International Gymnastics (FIG) was created in Liege in 1881. From that time onwards, the sport continued to develop.
Today, gymnastics is a blend of balance, flexibility, strength, coordination, control, agility and endurance. Alertness and self-confidence are key elements, along with self-discipline and precision. The sport has transformed into a popular form of entertainment for fans, with gymnasts being treated as national heroes, thanks to their class performances over the years. It comes as no surprise that gymnastics tickets sell out faster today than ever before!
The Famous Gymnasts
Let’s take a look at some of the faces that have made the sport more popular than it ever was in the US.
Simone Biles: The 20-year old Simone Biles is a celebrated gymnast, who was a part of the gold-medal winning team at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. She is also a three-times world all-around champion, two-time world balance beam champion, three-time world floor champion and four times United States all-around champion. Talking to The Hollywood Reporter about her victory in the Olympics, Biles added, "I think it inspires a lot of the little girls out there to go in the gym and train harder.”
McKayla Maroney: The 21-year old multiple gold medal winner artistic gymnast, McKayla Maroney was a member of the Fierce Five at the 2012 Summer Olympics. She won a gold medal as a part of the team and bagged a silver medal individually. She was also a part of the team that won gold at the 2011 World Championships.
Aly Raisman: The 23-year old gymnast was a member of both the 2012 “Fierce Five” and the 2016 “Final Five” US women’s gymnastics teams at the Olympics – both of which won their respective team competitions. Raisman is considered to be one of the most decorated gymnasts in America, with gold medals in team and floor competitions. She is also the only American, alongside Gabby Douglas, who has won back to back team gold medals.
Gabby Douglas: The 21-year old American artistic gymnast was a part of the Fierce Five at the 2012 Summer Olympics. She has won multiple gold medals in individual all-round and team competitions. Douglas was also a member of the Final Five that won the gold medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics. Her success at the Olympics has made her a beloved public figure, which resulted in a biopic in 2014, titled The Gabby Douglas Story.
Laurie Hernandez: The 17 year old Laurie Hernandez has wowed international audiences with her gymnastic capabilities. She won gold in the team event and silver on the balance beam at the 2016 Summer Olympics as part of the US women’s gymnastics team. In 2016, Hernandez participated in and won the 23rd season of Dancing with the Stars, alongside partner Val Chmerkovskiy.
Madison Kocian: Born in 1997 in Dallas, Texas, Kocian was a member of the Final Five at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. She was also a part of the American team at the 2014 and 2015 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships, getting the first-place prizes both times. Currently, the 20 year old is attending the University of California, Los Angeles.
Gymnastics Events to Look Forward to in 2018
If you are a big fan of the sport, you might be interested in the following events that will be taking place in the upcoming year:
Nastia Liukin Cup: This annual artistic gymnastics event, hosted by the Olympics gymnast Nastia Liukin was first held in 2010. Level 10 female gymnasts are eligible to compete in junior and senior categories. The competition will take place on 2nd March 2018, at the Sears Center Arena, Hoffman Estates, Illinois.
2018 AT&T American Cup: This is an elite senior level international gymnastics competition held under the International Federation of Gymnastics (FIG). The first ever competition was held in 1976 in New York and since then, it has grown on to become one of the most prestigious competitions in gymnastics. The upcoming edition of the AT&T American Cup will be held on 3rd March 2018, at the Sears Center Arena in Hoffman Estates, Illinois.
2018 USA Gymnastics Championships: This year, the prestigious 2018 USA Gymnastics Championships will be hosted by Greensboro. The event will feature more than 1,800 of the finest gymnasts in the country in various categories, such as acrobatic gymnastics, trampoline and tumbling and rhythmic gymnastics. The event is scheduled to take place on 3rd July 2018 till 8th July 2018 and will include both elite and Junior Olympic events.
Buy Gymnastics Tickets
For those of you looking to buy gymnastics tickets, now would be a great time to make that purchase, since tickets for these events sell out fast. Come out to support your favorite men and women as they put their strength, flexibility and control to test, along with the nerves of performing in front of an arena full of fans! Grab these tickets at the earliest, for the upcoming events in 2018. With the past records of gymnastics in the US, these events are not to be missed!