It happens every four years. The dream of going to the Olympics. For the five gymnasts representing the United States it becomes a chance to earn medals the ones who were before them. Instead of pursuing the perfect 10, some are pursing their 1st Olympic medal for their country. Some are trying to do better then the games before, and some are trying to leave their mark for the first time.
A lot has happened in the Rio games, so far, and we still have two more event finals to look forward to. Lets take a look at few gymnasts making headlines for the first week of the Olympic games.
We cannot talk about the Olympics without talking about Simone Biles! Going into the games, this young woman has been undefeated for the past four years. She is now the most decorated gymnast in history with three consecutive World titles. She helped the USA team capture the team gold, and then went on to claim the all around title. On Sunday, August 14th, she added the vault gold medal to her trophy case. She still has two more chances to win medals on the balance beam and the floor exercise. Simone is looking forward to taking some time off and live a “normal” life. No matter what she does she will always be remembered as the best in the sport.
Aly Raisman competed in the 2012 Olympic Games. She left those games with team and individual floor gold medals. She also won the bronze on balance beam, but was edged out of the all around by Aliya Mustifina. Aly came back to Rio in better shape then the last games and with a stronger attitude. She stayed calm throughout the team competition as the team captain. This time, at the individual all around competition, Aly Raisman not only won the silver, but showed the world how much it meant to her and her coach. Tears of joy fell from her face after finishing her last event, the floor exercise. She wiped the tears of the struggles, and the doubt, and frustrations off of her face and cheered on her teammate as Simone won gold. This year Aly edged out Aliya for the silver and has another chance to climb the podium on Tuesday on the floor..
On the internet they call her a “diva” or “Queen Aliya”. Aliya Mustifina has been a fixture in gymnastics since she broke into the senior field in 2010. She was recorded saying that if the Russian ban happened she would not have been disappointed. Her body has been hit with injuries and she has struggled with returning on all four apparatuses, with floor and beam being the toughest. In 2012 she won the bronze medal in the all around, and in the floor exercise. She came into Rio as the reigning uneven bars gold medalist. This year the Russian team won the silver medal and days later Alyia competed in the all around. For the first time in 3 years she was ahead of Simone Biles after the second rotation. With two great events behind her she had to hit beam and floor to win. An error on the balance beam left her without a connection series and dropped her from the top of the score board. After a strong floor she consoled her teammate Seda, then joined Aly and Simone on the podium with her flag in the air. Aliya won the bronze medal, but there was more to come. The final for bars was jammed pack with difficulty. The top three could have gone multiple different ways but Aliya hit big. She walked away as the uneven bars champion again! She was interviewed after her one final and told us she would be taking two years off and then back in the gym for 2020 Tokoyo.
Shang Chungsong may not be the most talked about gymnast in the games, but I feel she was judged poorly. I think that Shang is deducted on her form due to her malnutrition. No fault of her own she may not be as “dynamic” and “powerful” as someone like Simone Biles, however her routines are clean and she can perform the some of the most difficult routines you will see. For example with 6.7 difficulty score on the balance beam, she connected every skill she had to connect. She stuck her acro pass, and hit her 180 split. She completed her triple twist dismount with the tiniest hop. There was not one pause in her routine, yet she only scored in the mid 14’s. She placed fourth in the all around, and fifth in the bars final. I am hoping that Rio is not it for Shang. She is a strong competitor and the best in China right now, in my opinion.
Sunday, August 14th Gulia has become the first gymnast from Switzerland to ever medal in the Olympic games! She won the bronze medal after a gorgeous rudi and powerful yuerchenko double. She struggled on the vault final in the 2015 World Championships and injured her knee. In a sport where a knee injury could be an end to a career, she rehabbed and was able to win the gold medal at the 2016 European Games. She is capable of doing a front handspring double, so I am crossing my fingers that she will be back next year to claim another vault title. We will have another chance to see her compete in the floor event final.
We are more than half way through the Olympics, with only two event finals to go. Will Simone take the gold on both the beam and floor? Will she win the covented 5 gold medals? Will Aly leave Rio with another floor medal to add to her collection? Who will take the final two medals? What are some of your favorite moments so far? Let get these comments going!