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

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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.

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MORE: How Raisman addressed Larry Nassar in book

UCI looks for new host for 2020 World Road Cycling Championships

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The International Cycling Union (UCI) is looking for a new host for the 2020 World Road Cycling Championships due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Switzerland can no longer host the week-long event in late September after a national decision to extend a ban on events with more than 1,000 people through next month.

Amid reports the competition has been canceled, the UCI clarified Wednesday that it still hopes to hold it in some form, perhaps without some of the junior or senior races.

It now seeks an “alternative project,” preferably still in Europe and on the same dates (Sept. 20-27).

Worlds were due to start in Switzerland on the same day that the rescheduled Tour de France ends, though the senior elite men’s races are typically not on the first three days.

The Tour de France is still scheduled to start Aug. 29.

Last year, American Chloe Dygert starred at road worlds, winning the time trial in dominant fashion. Other world champions in Olympic events: Annemiek van Vleuten (road race), Rohan Dennis (time trial) and Mads Pedersen (road race).

MORE: Chloe Dygert had the most dominant ride in history. It still drives her nuts.

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Michael Phelps qualifies for first Olympics at age 15 in 2000

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In the biggest race of his young life, a 15-year-old Michael Phelps turned for the last 50 meters in fourth place of the U.S. Olympic Trials 200m butterfly final on Aug. 12, 2000.

His mom, Debbie, couldn’t watch. She turned away from the Indianapolis Natatorium pool and stared at the scoreboard. Both Debbie and Phelps’ coach, Bob Bowman, mentally prepared their consolation speeches for the rising Towson High School sophomore outside Baltimore.

Then Phelps, fueled by nightly Adam’s Mark chicken sandwich-and-cheesecake room service and amped by pre-race DMX on his CD player, turned it on. He zoomed into second place, becoming the youngest U.S. male swimmer to qualify for an Olympics since 1932.

Phelps had “come out of nowhere in the last six months” to become an Olympic hopeful, NBC Sports swimming commentator Dan Hicks said on the broadcast. True, Phelps chopped five and a half seconds off his personal best that March.

“He doesn’t know what it means to go to the Olympics and how it’s going to change his life,” Tom Malchow, the 1996 Olympic silver medalist who held off Phelps in that trials final, said that night, according to The Associated Press. “He’s going to find out soon.”

Phelps, who did his trademark arm flaps before the trials final, made Bowman look like a prophet. Four years earlier, the coach sat Debbie down for a conversation she would not soon forget.

“Told me what he projected for Michael,” Debbie said, according to the Baltimore Sun‘s front-page story on a local 15-year-old qualifying for the Sydney Games. “He said that in 2004, he would definitely be a factor in the Olympics. He also said that he could be there in 2000, to watch out for him. At the time, he was only 11.”

The trials were bittersweet for the Phelps family. Whitney, one of Phelps’ older sisters, withdrew before the meet with herniated discs in her back that kept her from making an Olympics after competing in the 1994 World Championships at age 14.

After Phelps qualified for the Olympics, one of the first people to embrace him was Whitney on the pool deck.

The next week, Phelps, still with bottom-teeth braces, did his first live TV sitdown on CNN, swiveling in his chair the whole time, according to his autobiography, “Beneath the Surface.”

The next month, Phelps finished fifth in his Olympic debut, clocking a then-personal-best time that would have earned gold or silver at every previous Olympics.

Following the Olympic race, gold medalist Malchow patted Phelps on the back, according to “No Limits,” another Phelps autobiography. What did Malchow say?

“The best is ahead of you.”

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