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

2022 Pan Pacific Championships canceled as swimming calendar shifts

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The Pan Pacific Swimming Championships, a quadrennial major international meet, will not be held in 2022 “out of respect for the recent changes to the international sporting calendar,” according to a press release.

The Pan Pacs’ charter nations — the U.S., Australia, Canada and Japan — agreed to the move. The 2026 event will be held in Canada, which was supposed to be the 2022 host.

The decision came after the 2021 World Championships were moved to May 2022, following the Tokyo Olympics moving from 2020 to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The quadrennial multi-sport Commonwealth Games — which includes Australia and Canada, but not the U.S. or Japan — are scheduled for July 27-Aug. 7, 2022.

“Organizing a third major championships in that window presented several challenges,” according to the Pan Pacs release.

Pan Pacs mark the third-biggest major international meet for U.S. swimmers, held in non-Olympic, non-world championships years.

MORE: Caeleb Dressel co-hosts a podcast. It’s not about swimming.

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Boston Marathon canceled for first time after 123 years; virtual event planned

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The Boston Marathon, held every year since 1897, has been canceled as an in-person event for the first time. It will be held as a virtual race instead due to the coronavirus.

“While we cannot bring the world to Boston in September, we plan to bring Boston to the world for an historic 124th Boston Marathon,” Boston Athletic Association (BAA) CEO Tom Grilk said in a press release.

The world’s oldest annual marathon had been postponed from April 20 to Sept. 14, it was announced March 13.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said he first considered canceling the postponed marathon during a coronavirus surge in April.

“We were maxed out in our hospital emergency rooms,” Walsh said Thursday. “I realized that the downside of the curve, which we were on, the backside of the curve, is going to be going for some time. The concern of a second surge made me have some real reservations about can we have the marathon or not.”

Walsh said experts said a potential second surge would be between August and October. He held out hope to hold the race until talking with the BAA last week.

All participants originally registered for Boston will be offered a full refund of their entry fee and have the opportunity to participate in the virtual alternative, which can be run between Sept. 7-14.

More details, including entry information, will be announced in the coming weeks.

It’s the biggest alteration to the Boston Marathon, which was inspired by the marathon’s debut at the first modern Olympics in 1896. Previously, the biggest change came in 1918, the last year of World War I. The marathon was still held on Patriots’ Day in April but as a 10-man military relay race.

The original 2020 Boston elite fields included two-time U.S. Olympian Des Linden, the 2018 Boston winner who was fourth at the Feb. 29 Olympic Trials, where the top three earned Olympic spots.

London is the world’s other major spring marathon. It was rescheduled from April 27 to Oct. 4. Its original fields for April were headlined by the two fastest men in history — Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge and Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele. It’s unknown if they will remain in the field, should London happen.

The fall major marathon schedule

Boston — Sept. 7-14 (virtual event)
Berlin — TBD (will not be held as planned on Sept. 27)
London — Oct. 4
Chicago — Oct. 11
New York City — Nov. 1

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MORE: U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials results