Women's Gymnastics 2012: Comparing the Fab 5 to Polarizing 1996 USA Team

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Women's Gymnastics 2012: Comparing the Fab 5 to Polarizing 1996 USA Team
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The 2012 U.S. women's gymnastics team has won the second gold medal in the sport for the country.

Move over, Magnificent Seven, the Fab Five are now the greatest women's gymnastics team in U.S. Olympic history.

This is in no way a shot at the 1996 Olympic gymnastics team. They will always have their place in history as the first team to win gold for the United States. The 2012 team was just greater.

The 1996 team captivated our hearts with the performances of Shannon Miller, Dominique Dawes and the heroic Kerri Strug. This year's team, led by Gabby Douglas, Jordyn Wieber and Aly Raisman, had us emotionally invested in every event.

It is always hard to debate or compare athletes' performances from different eras. Rules change and training methods improve, among plenty of other factors. For the sake of this discussion, let's look at the expectations entering the Olympic Games, adversity faced during competition and the actual performance.

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