Simone Biles goes to the Rio Olympics with a shot at cementing her status as the greatest female gymnast of all time.
Gabby Douglas and Aly Raisman will return to the Olympics, becoming the first U.S. women to make back-to-back Olympic teams since 2000.
And first-time Olympians Laurie Hernandez and Madison Kocian round out a team of five looking to deliver a repeat team title for the first time in U.S. gymnastics history.
“Fierce Five, second generation,” Biles told Andrea Joyce on NBC.
The U.S. women’s roster was announced after the Olympic Trials finished in San Jose, Calif., on Sunday night. And it was the team most expected.
Biles, the three-time reigning world all-around champion, clinched the lone automatic berth by winning the two-day all-around title by 2.1 points over Hernandez, despite falling off the balance beam. Raisman was third. Full results are here.
Douglas was seventh but may have all but clinched her Olympic team spot last year, when she finished second to Biles in the all-around at the world championships. She fell off the balance beam both days in San Jose.
“It’s very emotional right now, and even though I had a couple mistakes on Day 2, they still trusted and believed in me,” Douglas, with tears, told Joyce on NBC.
The Americans will be heavy favorites for the team title in Rio, given they swept the 2014 and 2015 World Championships. Plus, the recent decline of powers Russia, China and Romania. Romania won’t even send a full team to Rio.
Biles alone has a shot at five gold medals — team, all-around, vault, floor exercise and balance beam. Three U.S. female gymnasts have earned five medals at a single Games — Mary Lou Retton, Shannon Miller and Nastia Liukin.
Raisman’s motivation to come back after three medals in 2012 was in part due to a fourth-place finish in the London Olympic all-around. She tied for third, actually, but was bumped out of the medals due to a tiebreaker. She’s also the reigning Olympic floor exercise champion.
Given Raisman finished second to Biles at the P&G Championships and third at the Olympic Trials, she could do all four events in qualifying in Rio, setting her up for a shot at the all-around final.
Hernandez, the first U.S. Olympic gymnast born in the 2000s, was third at the P&G Championships and second at the Olympic Trials and may also be a U.S. all-arounder in Rio.
Three could do the all-around in qualifying (but only two if Douglas and Madison Kocian do uneven bars). No more than two per nation can advance to the all-around final.
Kocian is a contender to take uneven bars gold. She shared the 2015 World title with three other gymnasts. She made the Olympic team over Ashton Locklear, the 2014 U.S. champion on the event.
Locklear, MyKayla Skinner and Ragan Smith are alternates.Follow @nzaccardi