I don’t know about you, but the Rio Olympics have taken over the TV at my house for the last few weeks! My favorite event is the women’s gymnastics, and it was so much fun to watch Simone Biles, Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas, Madison Kocian, and Laurie Hernandez blow the world out of the water and win medal after medal. With the girls now making the media rounds here at home and still taking social media by storm, I’m reliving the memories and sharing why I think they’re awesome!
- Their work ethic and dedication. These girls have put in many, many hours of hard work leading up to these Olympics. They have dedicated their whole lives to their sport, and there’s something satisfying and inspiring, even for a casual observer like me, about seeing them succeed in such spectacular fashion. All their hard work and sacrifice has paid off, and their reward is absolute excellence and dominance. And, of course, a few medals 😉 I can only imagine how awesome they must feel, knowing that all those years were worth it!
- Their personal stories. All five of these gymnasts have incredible stories. From Simone Biles being adopted by her grandparents and given a second chance, to Gabby Douglas coming back for her second Olympics despite a slightly rocky beginning to her gymnastics comeback, to Laurie Hernandez’s making the team at age 16 in only her first year competing at the senior level, to Madison Kocian’s dazzling uneven bars routine earning her a spot on the team. Then there’s my personal favorite comeback story: Aly Raisman’s. She suffered a major disappointment being on the losing end of a tiebreaker for bronze in the all-around competition at the 2012 London Games. Now at 22 years old, she’s the oldest member of the team (the other girls call her “Mama Aly” or “Grandma”), and she’s at the top of her game. This year, she came back to win a silver medal in the all-around. In a sport where it’s rare to compete in more than one Olympics, she blew everyone away and did even better than last time. Redemption at its finest!
- Their friendship and camaraderie. I loved seeing the genuine friendships between the girls, on and off the competition floor. You could tell from their reactions that they were all excited when the others did well, like when Laurie Hernandez took silver on the balance beam, ahead of Simone Biles’ bronze. They’ve been living and training together for over a month, and I imagine it would be one of the greatest experiences ever to share such an awesome life event with girls who have quickly become your best friends!
- Their awesome leotards. Okay, this might be kind of superficial, but I think they have the best-looking leotards at the Olympics. Is there anything better than red, white, blue, and bling? I don’t think so.
- Their historic victory. This team was the first from the USA to win the team gold medal at back-to-back Olympics. Gabby and Aly were part of the gold medal-winning team in 2012, and this year’s team won by a huge margin. Not only that, but at least one medal in each event (all-around, uneven bars, balance beam, vault, and floor exercise) was won by a member of Team USA. By the end of competition, they walked away with nine (9!!) medals: four gold, four silver, and one bronze, making them the most-decorated women’s gymnastics team in US history. Not to mention that Simone’s four gold medals tie the Olympic record for a female gymnast at a single Games.They are truly the best in the world, and their records will be tough to beat in the years to come. They are champions in the truest sense of the word.
I love the fact that, despite their status as Olympic champions, these girls still seem so relatable. I wish we could be friends in real life! But even if we never meet them, there’s still a lot we can learn from them about dedication, work ethic, and striving for excellence in everything we do. So go out there, work hard at what you love, and don’t forget to celebrate with your friends along the way! And if you get a chance to wear some red, white, blue, and bling, definitely take that chance 😉
Photos by John Cheng, from the USA Gymnastics Facebook page