fierce five

Fierce Five Olympic Gymnastics Team
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How the Fierce Five Olympic gymnastics team got its nickname

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The 2012 U.S. Olympic women’s gymnastics team, which earned gold in London, was at first known as the “Fab Five.”

That’s what media dubbed Gabby DouglasAly RaismanJordyn WieberMcKayla Maroney and Kyla Ross, whose triumph highlights NBCSN’s Olympic Games Week coverage on Thursday night. A full schedule is here.

But Fab Five had already been taken by the University of Michigan men’s basketball team of the early 1990s, which for a time featured five freshmen in the starting lineup. Jalen Rose, a member of that basketball team, took issue with it being reused.

“To use the nickname just points and screams of lazy journalism by the national media, that’s really what it is,” Rose said during the London Olympics, according to a podcast. “It’s no fault at all of the young gymnasts. But I really wish they would have come up with an even more creative tag for them and their gold medal pursuit.”

They did. Fierce Five.

Raisman penned the origin of the original nickname in her 2017 autobiography.

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

A sampling of the brainstorming: The Fantastic Five. The Friendly Five. The Fearsome Five. The Frrrreaky Five.

Raisman wrote that Maroney came up with “Fierce” while the team was in the Athletes’ Village before the Opening Ceremony.

“‘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.”

Douglas and Raisman would return for the Rio Olympics. That group was dubbed the “Final Five” because it was national team coordinator Martha Karolyi‘s last Olympics and because the Olympic team event roster size would drop from five to four in 2020. Team sizes will go back to five in 2024, but that was decided after the Rio Games.

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MORE: Kyla Ross’ gymnastics career comes to abbreviated end

Road to Rio begins at the American Cup

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It begins.

The American Cup, the most high profile international gymnastics competition held annually in the United States, is set to take place March 2 in Worcester, Mass. Sure, it’s technically the beginning on the 2013 season, but it’s really the beginning of the four-year run up to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.

Excited yet? There’s more: Team USA will feature three 2012 Olympians and a high profile Olympic alternate, in what is one of the best American Cup field in years.

Kyla Ross, the youngest member of London’s “Fierce Five” started her career with Olympic gold (not bad), is back and will headline the competition. Joining Ross will be Elizabeth “Ebee” Price, alternate for the women’s 2012 team, and back-to-back World Cup winner last year. Also in the line up are a group of Olympic fan favorites including, 2006 World all-around champion Vanessa Ferrari, Larissa Iordache of Romania, and Elizabeth Seitz of Germany. Two more women will be named at the end of the month.

On the men’s side, things look just as bright. Olympic teammates Danell Leyva and Jake Dalton make up Team USA. Joining them are Olympic all-around silver medalist (and favorite of the lady fans) Marcel Nguyen of Germany, Olympic team bronze medalist Kristian Thomas of Great Britain, and Brazilian Sergio Sasaki, who qualified for the all-around in London.

The lineup represents one of the more competitive fields in recent memory and, for athletes like Price and Dalton, the American Cup can serve as a coming out party…if they can get past their famous teammates.

The official USA Gymnastics announcement outlines the full group of participants and event details.

So prepare yourselves, Rio is 1,302 days away, but the storylines you’ll hear about all throughout the games, start developing now. Start taking notes.

‘Fierce Five’ join Shawn Johnson on Dancing with the Stars

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“Dancing with the Stars” has long been a haven for Olympic gold medalists like Kristi Yamaguchi, Shawn Johnson, and Apolo Anton Ohno, who have all won the Mirror Ball trophy during the show’s run.

But during this, the All-Star return season, Johnson has upped the ante on her Olympic competitors.

Monday night the Beijing balance beam champ brought out London’s ‘Fierce Five’ of Aly Raisman, Jordyn Wieber, Kyla Ross, McKayla Maroney, and all-around champ Gabby Douglas to assist her routine, acting as everything from dancers, to tumblers and set pieces, as Johnson and her partner, Derek Hough, glided across the floor.

Johnson, the season eight champ, tweeted out a picture of the five stretching after the show, and added “You have no idea how much it means to me to be able to share this moment with them.”

And while we’d love to watch the results show to see how it worked out for Johnson and the group, who all told own eight golds, four silvers, and a bronze, we feel obligated to watch NBC’s “The Voice” Tuesday instead.