US Women's Gymnastics Olympic Team 2012: 4 Things the Fab Five Has Taught Us
The Fab Five have been simply magnificent in the 2012 London Olympics.
Along with a team gold, they take home (so far) an individual all-around gold and an individual silver in the vault.
Throughout the Olympics I've thought about this team and its makeup.
What is it that makes these five gymnasts the best unit in the world? Why were they so dominant when it came to the team competition?
Here are four things we've learned from the Fab Five that the U.S.—and probably many other countries—will use in future Olympics.
Specialists Are a Good Thing to Have
When looking at the makeup of the U.S. team, one thing is very noticeable: Sometimes a specialist is a good thing to have.
McKayla Maroney was one of those specialists on the U.S. team.
Known as one of the best vaulters in the world, Maroney was specifically on the team to help the U.S. score big in the vault during the team competition.
While she didn't compete in any other event, she sure made the best of her opportunities in her specialty.
Kyla Ross was able to do the same as she had the fifth-best score on the beam (15.133) and eighth-best score on the uneven bars 14.933.
Her performances in those two events, which were two of the weaker events for the U.S., was one of the reasons the U.S. was able to win gold.
Always Put Your Best Last
When it came down to needing a great routine to wrap up each apparatus, the U.S. (like many other countries) put their best gymnast on that apparatus last.
What this does (as long as it's a good score) is provide momentum heading into the next event.
And it can put an exclamation point on a team's gold medal effort. Aly Raisman's final event (floor exercise) showed everyone why the U.S. is the best women's gymnastic's team in the world.
However, it can backfire on you if your last gymnast has a fall. Such a failure can provide another team that hasn't yet competed on that rotation momentum heading into the next apparatus.
Internal Competition Is Key
As has been noted many times before, there are three great all-around gymnasts on the U.S. team.
For other countries, it was obvious who the top two gymnasts were; for the U.S., it wasn't as evident.
Gabrielle Douglas, Aly Raisman and Jordyn Wieber are three of the best all-around gymnasts in the world. Their competitiveness with each other translated in every event and thus made the team a lot better.
In the team final, this cohesiveness was especially evident. Wieber wanted to prove she was still one of the best all-around gymnasts in the world—even though Raisman and Douglas were representing the U.S. in the final—and she provided some the most critical performances for the U.S.
For Douglas, her performance put the world on notice that she was going to be the favorite heading into the individual all-around.
Raisman had to prove that her performance during qualifying was no fluke and that she had earned her spot in the individual all-around.
Put it all together, and the result was an almost flawless team final for the U.S.
Go Big or Go Home
The Olympics is about holding nothing back and pulling every tool out of the toolbox.
For the U.S., that's exactly what they did throughout the competition, performing slightly more difficult routines than originally expected.
While many of the other teams did the same, the U.S. did so with fewer mistakes.
Adding a higher degree of difficulty gives gymnasts the ability to post better scores. If multiple members from one team can stick these more-difficult routines, it translates into gold.