Once the Fab Five completed their performances last night, only one word came to mind: Wow. What an effort from a group of girls with so much talent.
I don't know much about gymnastics, but it's one of the events I always look forward to when the Summer Games roll around. This year, when I learned that Nastia Liukin and Shawn Johnson wouldn't be around, my hopes plummeted.
That is, they plummeted until I read about the Fab Five that would be representing the United States in London. Impressive as they were, they certainly provided us with some heartbreak.
Overall, though, you can't deny that each of these five young women will live in our memories forever.
Jordyn Wieber—Rags to Riches
Well, why not start with the most highly-touted athlete entering the Games. Wieber was called a lock by some to win the all-around gold, and if you look at her history in world competition, you'd be hard-pressed to disagree.
However, when the preliminary team round ended on Sunday night, the world watched in shock as Wieber shed heart-wrenching tears—she wouldn't be competing in the all-around competition. Because of a very odd and unfair Olympic rule, the fact that she was beaten by two of her teammates eliminated her from contention.
Only 48 hours later, the smile was out in full force on Wieber's face as she gave a tremendous effort en route to an American gold in the team competition—the United States' first such occurrence since 1996.
I choose to remember Wieber, not for the tears that she shed, but for the way she came back two days later with a high morale and the look of a leader. She walked out on Tuesday ready to bring back some gold, rising from the ashes and leading her team to victory.
McKayla Maroney—Almost Perfect
Why almost perfect? Anyone who saw her vault on Tuesday night would probably be in full agreement—that vault was perfect.
However, the judges saw it differently, and even the broadcasters thought the judges were wrong. Maroney was on the team strictly to vault in the team competition, and boy did she deliver.
It's people like Maroney that are constantly overlooked, and she absolutely can't be in this case. Had it not been for her contributions on the vault, you can only imagine what would have happened to the scores.
Will people remember the name, McKayla Maroney? Probably not everyone, but will they remember her almost perfect vault? No doubt.
Kyla Ross—The Silent Contributor
The fact that Kyla Ross was probably the least-heard name on the team doesn't diminish her performance at all. It wasn't a secret that Ross was what I like to call, the "stone face" of the team—while most of the girls were crying when they made the Olympic team, she was not.
And it's good to have a team member like that. Ross stood up, went out there and gave it her all—she didn't worry (or she didn't show it anyway) about the emotional pressures and all that that can absolutely destroy an athlete.
I tip my hat to Ross for being able to contain her emotions and perform so well—at only 15 years old. She certainly could be back for the Rio Games in 2016.
Aly Raisman—Seizing the Moment
Not to take away from Aly Raisman's London performance, but she was the one who capitalized on Jordyn Wieber's mistakes during the preliminary round and earned herself entry into the all-around competition.
In the end, she was unable (by the slimmest of margins) to get a medal, but that doesn't sum up her story. She was happy just to make the Games, and she wound up being among some of the world's best, and she gave some of the best performances.
Her floor routines were next to flawless, and she may have gotten a medal if it weren't for one bad round on the beam that came at an inopportune time. Seeing one of the underdogs sneak into the all-around competition was truly a good story to see play out, and Raisman performed admirably after seizing her moment.
Gabby Douglas—The Golden Girl
What else can you call her? Aside from falling a couple steps out of bounds during her first floor routine on Sunday, Gabby Douglas was incredible.
Outside of Wieber, Douglas was carrying the most pressure on the team. She was so very impressive to watch on the beam and perhaps even more so on the uneven bars.
There's no doubt that every single one of these ladies gave something to help win a gold medal for the United States. However, it's the name "Gabby Douglas" that can be put into the group of the all-time greats that have won an Olympic gold medal.