For more than a couple years now, Simone Biles — barring injury — has been a lock to lead the USA women’s gymnastics team at the Rio 2016 Olympics. What other girls will join the three-time reigning World All-Around champion in shaping the sequel to the Fierce Five?
Jordyn Wieber was the first member of the London 2012 Olympic USA women’s gymnastics team to announce her retirement from elite competition. Then in February of this year, both McKayla Maroney and Kyla Ross followed suit.
BIRTHPLACE: NEWPORT NEWS, VIRGINIA; AGE: 20
For many months after she won gold in the individual all-around at the London Olympics, Gabby Douglas was caught up in an intense media whirlwind. She took a lengthy break from training before returning to Iowa to reunite briefly with coach Liang Chow in the spring of 2014. A couple months later, Douglas left Chow in search of a new coach, eventually settling on Kittia Carpenter at Buckeye Gymnastics in Westerville, Ohio.
In 2015, Douglas finally returned to international competition and was named to the US Women’s World Championship team. In Glasgow, she claimed silver in the all-around behind teammate Biles. While it seems unlikely that Douglas will be able to achieve her stated objective of repeating as Olympic all around champ, she could make things interesting.
BIRTHPLACE: NEEDHAM, MASSACHUSETTS; AGE: 21
Like Douglas, Aly Raisman took a break from gymnastics following her medal-winning stint with the Fierce Five, and returned to international competition just last year.
In 2013, Raisman was a contestant on Dancing with the Stars and finished in fourth place with partner Mark Ballas. The skills picked up from that experience, could translate into a more refined floor exercise, which has long been her strong suit.
BIRTHPLACE: AUGUSTA, GEORGIA; AGE: 16
Bailie Key is coached in Texas by Olympic bronze medalist Kim Zmeskal, and she could be in line for a medal or two herself on the grandest of stages in Rio.
Key began her senior career with a bang, finishing in second place behind Biles (and ahead of Douglas and Raisman) in the 2015 City of Jesolo Trophy. She followed that performance up with two fourth place finishes at the Secret U.S. Classic and P&G Championships.
BIRTHPLACE: DALLAS, TEXAS; AGE: 18
Since Madison Kocian senior career began in 2013 she has been contributing member of several gold-medal winning teams, including the past two Team USA contingents at the World Gymnastics Championships.
At the 2015 World Gymnastics Championships, Kocian tied with three other girls for first place in the uneven bars with a score of 15.366.
BIRTHPLACE: LITTLE CANADA, MINNESOTA; AGE: 18
Maggie Nichols, who plans to attend the University of Oklahoma, has won four medals at past USA Gymnastics National Championships. At the Pan American Championships in Mississauga, Canada, where she helped the American team win gold, while placing third individually in the all-around competition with a score of 55.500.
As a member of the 2015 World Gymnastics Championships squad, Nichols won a bronze in the floor event with a score of 15.000.
BIRTHPLACE: MESA, ARIZONA; AGE: 19
McKayla Skinner was a member of the past two gold-medal winning USA squads at the World Gymnastics Championships, and in 2014 won a bronze medal in vault with a score of 15.366.
Skinner deferred her enrollment at the University of Utah, to focus on making the Olympic team.
BIRTHPLACE: NEW BRUNSWICK, NEW JERSEY; AGE: 15
Laurie “Baby Shakira” Hernandez trains under former North Carolina State standout Maggie Haney at MG Elite Gymnastics in Morganville, New Jersey.
At the 2016 City of Jesolo Trophy competition in Italy, Hernandez turned heads with with a riveting gold-medal-winning performance on the balance beam. She also claimed silver on vault and bronze in the all-around.
BIRTHPLACE: SNELLVILLE, GEORGIA; AGE: 15
Ragan Smith, who trains at the Texas Dreams club operated by 1992 Olympic medalist Kim Zmeskal, is the youngest of the gymnasts gunning for a spot in Rio. She’ll turn sixteen on August 8, making her eligible to compete on the world’s biggest stage.
Smith’s senior debut came at the 2016 City of Jesolo Trophy in March 2016, where she placed second in the all-around.