U.S. women’s gymnastics Olympic team finalized in San Jose


Illustration by Angelica G. Allen/Contributor

Angelica G. Allen,

And they’re off!

From the Bay to Brazil, the new fierce five who competed for and won a spot on the USA Olympics Women’s Gymnastics team are Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas, Laurie Hernandez, Madison Kocian and Aly Raisman.

Their three replacements are MyKayla Skinner, Ragan Smith and Ashton Locklear, who could have become the first Native American to compete on an USA gymnast team.

The Olympians and their alternates fought for a chance to compete for gold medals during this year’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The trials occurred on July 8th and 10th at the SAP Center in San Jose and were full of oohs, awes and falls.

2012 Olympics veteran Gabby Douglas fell off the balance beam on both nights but excelled in the floor exercise and uneven bars to get herself a spot on the team.

Yet some still questioned how Douglas earned herself a trip to Rio, despite placing seventh after the final rotation.

Simone Biles dominated both nights with nearly perfect performances (Biles slipped off the beam on Sunday), and Laurie Hernandez became a fan favorite; the audience clapped to the music of her floor number and gladly cheered whenever she stuck her tumbling and vault routines.

Hernandez is also the first Latin woman to make the USA Olympics Women’s Gymnastics team in 30 years.

Kocian scored her way to Rio and teammate Raisman, another gymnast from 2012’s squad, also made the cut with stellar performances on the floor that got her some high scores.

On the first night of trials, she opened with an unbelievable pass that helped to earn herself Gold in London.

This pass consists of a Roundoff-One and a Half Stepout, a Roundoff-Back Handspring, an Arabian Double Front and ends with a Punch Layout all in just the beginning seconds of the routine. Raisman improved what was deemed “impossible” and once again made it possible, Gold Medal Worthy.

San Jose became a part of what was called “Gym City USA” for not only the trial nights but throughout the entire weekend too.

Events like the fan fest, parade of olympians and the watch parties welcomed fans of the competitors and former Olympics champions.

With Rio in mind, this Brazilian inspired free fair had Carnival dancers, games, sand sculptors, food trucks, a photo booth, and rock climbing.

People could have volunteered for the Fan Fest, Media, Transportation, Hotels and Exit Giveaways, and if they signed up for at least three shifts, they received two exclusive tickets to the parade of olympians, an event with 140 past USA Olympics Gymnasts.

All-American former medal winners and favorites like Mary Lou Retton (1984) and Shawn Johnson (2008) made an appearance.

This invite-only event was hosted inside the SAP Center and was accompanied by musical guests Katherine McPhee, La’Porsha Renae, Laura Marano and Scotty McCreery.