By Jo-Ann Barnas, Special Contributor
RIO DE JANEIRO — The wait is over. Meet your "Final Five."
The much-anticipated nickname of the 2016 U.S. Olympic women’s gymnastics team was unveiled moments after the Americans defended of their team gold this afternoon at the Rio Olympic Arena.
Simone Biles, Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas, Madison Kocian and Laurie Hernandez settled on the nickname after a team vote last week. And it wasn’t easy keeping it under wraps. Everyone from journalists to media celebrities like Ryan Seacrest had been trying to coax it out of them the past few days — especially after the U.S. women’s dominating performance in Sunday’s qualifying.
According to USA Gymnastics Senior Vice President Rhonda Faehn, the "Final Five" nickname was selected because Rio will be the final Olympics featuring five team members; the sizes have been reduced to four starting at the 2020 Olympics.
Coincidently, it also happens to be the number of U.S. Olympic teams that retiring national team coordinator Martha Karolyi has overseen since succeeding husband Bela in 2001, leading the U.S. women to team silver or gold the last three games.
The Final Five follows on the heels of their gold-medal predecessors, the "Fierce Five." The 2012 Olympic team revealed that nickname before the team final in London, with Raisman, Douglas, Jordyn Wieber, McKayla Maroney and Kyla Ross living up to its billing as the team went on to outscore silver medalist Russia by more than five points. It was the second team gold for the U.S since 1996’s Magnificent Seven, and first on international soil.
The team members who made up the Magnificent Seven and produced Team USA’s first-ever women’s gymnastics gold at the Atlanta Games were: Shannon Miller, Dominique Moceanu, Dominique Dawes, Kerri Strug, Amy Chow, Amanda Borden and Jaycie Phelps.