Any member of the “Fierce Five” faces long odds to make it back for the 2016 Olympics given recent U.S. gymnastics history.
Two of the five members of the Olympic champion team, Kyla Ross and McKayla Maroney, competed at the U.S. gymnastics championships this week in Hartford, Conn. Both are likely to be named to the World Championships team next month.
The other three — Gabby Douglas, Jordyn Wieber and Aly Raisman — sat out this season, but all are expected to return to competition, possibly as early as next year.
No woman has made back-to-back U.S. Olympic gymnastics teams since Dominique Dawes and Amy Chow in 1996 and 2000. That’s three straight teams of Olympic rookies. Every member of the “Fierce Five” except for Ross will be at least 20 years old come Rio 2016, and every member of the last two Olympic teams was a teenager save Alicia Sacramone in 2008.
World and Olympic all-around champions Nastia Liukin, Shawn Johnson and Chellsie Memmel and Sacramone all attempted comebacks for the 2012 Olympics, and all bowed out before the final selections.
Every member of the 2012 Olympic team is talented enough to make a run for Rio, but history is not on their side in a sport that continues to favor the young.