Getty Images

Aly Raisman pens origins of ‘Fierce Five,’ ‘Final Five’ in book

Leave a comment

The Fantastic Five. The Friendly Five. The Fearsome Five. The Frrrreaky Five.

The 2012 U.S. Olympic women’s gymnastics team had very important business to attend — picking their nickname before the London Games.

Gabby DouglasAly RaismanJordyn WieberMcKayla Maroney and Kyla Ross tossed around ideas in their Olympic Village townhouse ahead of the Opening Ceremony.

“The media had initially dubbed us the ‘Fab Five,’ but that nickname already belonged to a basketball team,” Raisman wrote in her autobiography, “Fierce,” published Tuesday. “We wanted something different, something that represented what we were. We were combing our brains — and several online thesauruses — for the right moniker.”

Media at the London Games reported that Wieber and Maroney came up with “Fierce Five” together, googling words that began with “F” on a bus en route to a training session.

Raisman gave the credit to Maroney.

“‘Fierce!’ McKayla exclaimed,” Raisman wrote. “She shut her laptop with a snap and looked up, her eyes shining. The rest of us stared at her. ‘That’s it! Fierce — the Fierce Five,’ she said. ‘That’s what we are.’

And that’s what we became.”

Raisman and Douglas returned for the Rio Games, where the U.S. team became the “Final Five” in an homage to Martha Karolyi‘s last Olympic team and the last time Olympic team event sizes would be five women. Starting in 2020, Olympic team event sizes will be four women.

Before Rio, the five team members — Simone BilesLaurie HernandezMadison Kocian, Douglas and Raisman — had gone back and forth over text about that year’s team name.

Hernandez offered Slay Squad. Media suggested GLAMSquad, because it incorporated the first letter of each gymnast’s name, but Raisman felt it sexist.

“No one would ever suggest naming a men’s team Glam!” she wrote.

The team revealed the name on camera right after winning gold. Then, they told Karolyi. She cried.

“She pulled us into a group hug so tight we feared she might suffocate us,” Raisman wrote.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: How Raisman addressed Larry Nassar in book

Skylar Diggins-Smith has the opportunity to fill USA Basketball’s need

Skylar Diggins
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Skylar Diggins-Smith said making the U.S. Olympic team is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. This is her second chance.

An ACL tear derailed her Rio 2016 hopes. That happened in a WNBA game on June 28, 2015.

Though Diggins-Smith was among 25 Olympic finalists named in January 2016, she didn’t return to game action until that May, four weeks after the 12-woman Olympic team was chosen.

The 27-year-old guard said she’s played for USA Basketball for 12 years, since before her standout Notre Dame career that led to her current stint with the Dallas Wings (formerly Tulsa Shock).

“This is the most clear my mind has been,” with USA Basketball, Diggins-Smith said from training camp in Seattle on Tuesday, ahead of a Thursday exhibition against China at Key Arena (10 p.m. ET, usab.com/live).

Signs point to Diggins-Smith making her major international tournament debut at September’s FIBA World Cup, the quadrennial world championship event.

Though Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi‘s surprising returns crowd the backcourt, the other Olympic gold medalist guard, Lindsay Whalen, retired from the national team.

Diggins-Smith’s play last season, her first full campaign back from the ACL tear, boosts her case. She made the All-WNBA First Team.

She also made the first team in 2014. That year, Diggins-Smith was among the final cuts for the world championship team less than a week before the tournament.

“Every time I come to USA Basketball, I think you have a tendency to kind of overthink,” Diggins-Smith said Tuesday. “You just want to do the right thing, don’t really want to make mistakes. … You want to do the right thing, and you press a little bit.”

USA Basketball has stressed finding its next stalwart point guard following five-time Olympian Teresa Edwards, three-time Olympian Dawn Staley (now the U.S. head coach) and the 37-year-old Bird, eyeing her fifth Olympics in 2020.

“Give me three guards that have separated themselves from everyone else in the WNBA to put themselves at the same level as Sue, Diana, Lindsay Whalen,” then-U.S. coach Geno Auriemma said after the Olympic team was named in April 2016. “You really start to look around and, you go, that is a huge question that has to be answered.”

“Obviously, there’s a need,” Staley said in February, listing point guards other than Bird at that camp.

The first name Staley mentioned was Diggins-Smith, for what it’s worth.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Candace Parker finished with USA Basketball

USA Track and Field to honor 1968 Olympic team on 50th anniversary

AP
Leave a comment

USA Track and Field begins a campaign this week to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1968 Olympic team.

Members of the Mexico City Games team, one of the greatest track and field teams in history, will be honored at high-profile events the remainder of the year.

The campaign, “1968-2018: Celebrating Athletic Achievement and Courage,” culminates with a “Night of Legends” reunion in December at the USATF Annual Meeting in Columbus, Ohio, also attended by current U.S. stars.

The 1968 Olympic team is most remembered for Tommie Smith and John Carlos, who took gold and bronze in the 200m and were sent home after raising their black-gloved fists in a human rights salute during the national anthem.

The team also included gold medalists Bob Beamon (long jump), Dick Fosbury (high jump), Al Oerter (discus), Wyomia Tyus and Jim Hines (100m), Lee Evans (400m), Madeline Manning Mims (800m), Willie Davenport (110m hurdles), Bob Seagren (pole vault), Randy Matson (shot put), Bill Toomey (decathlon) and the men’s and women’s 4x100m and men’s 4x400m.

“The legacy of the greatest track & field team to ever be assembled is still felt 50 years later,” USATF CEO Max Siegel said in a press release. “These Olympians persevered through athletic challenges and social injustices, maintaining their composure and dignity when others may have fallen. It is USATF’s honor to pay homage to their achievements and bring the team together for an epic celebration at our Annual Meeting.”

U.S. track and field athletes will compete at two meets on NBC Sports and NBC Sports Gold this weekend — the Drake Relays and Penn Relays.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

WATCH: NBC Olympics documentary on 1968 Olympics