12 Olympic medals highlight record year for USA Gymnastics
posted on 12/05/2016

© John Cheng
INDIANAPOLIS, Dec. 5, 2016 – At the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the USA’s gymnasts won a total of 12 medals (four gold, six silver, and two bronze), the biggest Olympic medal haul for USA Gymnastics since 1984 and the most gymnastics medals earned by USA at a non-boycotted Olympic Games. The Final Five brought home nine medals (four gold, four silver and one bronze), the most women’s gymnastics Olympic medals won by a country since the Soviet Union claimed 10 medals at the 1972 Olympics. 2016 is the first Olympics in 12 years where the U.S. men won at least three medals. Also, Axel Osborne and Tiffani Williams, both of Moreno Valley, Calif./Realis Gymnastics Academy, won the mixed pair silver medal at the 2016 World Acrobatic Gymnastics Championships in Putian, China.

The women made U.S. history at the 2016 Olympic Games by winning the USA’s second-straight Olympic team gold, a first for the United States, and its third overall. 2016 Olympic all-around champion Simone Biles of Spring, Texas/World Champions Centre, won five medals (four gold and one bronze), becoming the most decorated U.S. gymnast in history with her 19 World and Olympic medals.

"Our athletes captured the hearts of viewers around the globe during the Olympic Games and provided some of the most exciting performances on the world’s biggest stage," said Steve Penny, president of USA Gymnastics. "USA Gymnastics had a busy year that was highlighted by some great moments, and we thank our athletes, fans, sponsors and professional members for their ongoing support and passion for our sport."

In addition to the success at the Olympic Games, the nation’s best gymnasts earned medals throughout the year at various meets around the world.  A summary of the USA’s achievements, by discipline, are summarized following the Olympic highlights.

Olympic highlights

  • In the women’s team final, Biles, Gabby Douglas of Tarzana, Calif./Buckeye Gymnastics, Laurie Hernandez of Old Bridge, N.J./MG Elite, Madison Kocian of Dallas, Texas/WOGA Gymnastics, and Aly Raisman of Needham, Mass./Brestyan's American Gymnastics, crushed the competition, posting the highest score on each of the four apparatus and winning the gold with a margin of victory of more than an eight points. Their nine medals easily topped Russia’s four, which placed second in the medal count.
  • Biles claimed a fourth-straight all-around gold medal for the U.S. women, marking the first time a country claimed four straight all-around titles in men’s or women’s gymnastics. She also won the vault and floor exercise titles, along with the balance beam bronze. Biles is the first defending World all-around champion to win the Olympic all-around title since the Ukraine’s Lilia Podkopayeva in 1996.
  • Biles’ victory on vault was the USA’s first-ever women’s vault gold medal.
  • Biles is the first American female gymnast to win four Olympic gold medals and joins Mary Lou Retton, Shannon Miller and Nastia Liukin as the only U.S. women to collect five Olympic gymnastics medals at a single Games.
  • Douglas and Raisman became the only U.S. gymnasts to win back-to-back Olympic team titles.
  • Douglas’ team gold made her the first American to win the all-around crown and two team gold medals.
  • Raisman’s six career Olympic medals is the second-highest total in U.S. history behind Miller’s seven. She was the most decorated USA gymnast at the 2012 Games in London, winning three medals – the team and floor exercise gold and the balance beam bronze. In 2016, Raisman added another team gold in addition to the all-around and floor exercise silver medals.
  • Kocian won the uneven bars silver medal, the first U.S. uneven bars medal since Liukin claimed silver at the 2008 Olympic Games.
  • Hernandez, the youngest member of the Final Five, brought home the silver medal for the balance beam.
  • It was only the fifth time in history that the U.S. men’s team has won three or more medals at a single Olympics: 2016, 2004, 1984, 1932 and 1904.
  • The U.S. men placed fifth in the team final. The men’s squad was comprised of Chris Brooks of Houston, Texas/Team Hilton (U.S. Olympic Training Center); Jake Dalton of Sparks, Nev./Team Hilton (University of Oklahoma); Sam Mikulak of Newport Coast, Calif./Team Hilton (U.S. Olympic Training Center); Danell Leyva of Miami/Team Hilton (Universal Gymnastics); and Alex Naddour of Queen Creek, Ariz./Team Hilton (USA Youth Fitness).
  • Naddour won the pommel horse bronze medal, the first U.S. pommel horse medal since 1984.
  • Leyva captured silver on the parallel bars and horizontal bar, becoming first U.S. man to win two individual event final medals since Mitch Gaylord in 1984.
  • Logan Dooley of Lake Forest, Calif./World Elite Gymnastics, finished in 11th place, the best Olympic placement for a U.S. man in trampoline. Nicole Ahsinger of Lafayette, La./Trampoline and Tumbling Express, competed for the women.
  • Laura Zeng of Libertyville, Ill./North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center, finished 11th in the all-around, the USA’s best rhythmic finish since Valerie Zimring tied for 11th at the 1984 Games.
  • The senior rhythmic group became just the second U.S. group in Olympic history to participate in the Games and the first to qualify outright. The members of the team, who trained at North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center, were: Kiana Eide of Northbrook, Ill.; Alisa Kano of Glencoe, Ill.; Natalie McGiffert of Northbrook, Ill.; Monica Rokhman of Northbrook, Ill.; and Kristen Shaldybin of Chicago.
  • 2016 marks the first Olympics the USA has qualified a full field in all four Olympic disciplines: men’s and women’s gymnastics, individual and group rhythmic gymnastics, and men’s and women’s trampoline.
  • The alternates for the 2016 Games were: men’s gymnastics – Akash Modi of Morganville, N.J./Stanford University, and Donnell Whittenburg of Baltimore, Md./Team Hilton (U.S. Olympic Training Center); women’s gymnastics – Ashton Locklear of Hamlet, N.C./Everest Gymnastics, MyKayla Skinner of Gilbert, Ariz./Desert Lights Gymnastics, and Ragan Smith of Lewisville, Texas/Texas Dreams Gymnastics; rhythmic gymnastics – Camilla Feeley of Highland Park, Ill./North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center (individual), and Jennifer Rokhman of Northbrook, Ill./ North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center (group); and trampoline – Shaylee Dunavin of Lafayette, La./Trampoline and Tumbling Express (women), and Steven Gluckstein of Atlantic Highlands, N.J./Elite Trampoline Academy (men). John Orozco of the Bronx, N.Y./Team Hilton (U.S. Olympic Training Center) made the men’s Olympic team but had to withdraw due to injury.

Women’s gymnastics

  • AT&T American Cup, Newark, N.J.  Douglas and Maggie Nichols of Little Canada, Minn./Twin City Twisters, finished one-two.
  • Glasgow World Cup, Glasgow, Great Britain. Skinner won the all-around crown at the Glasgow World Cup, which was part of the International Gymnastics Federation World Cup series.
  • City of Jesolo Trophy, Jesolo, Italy. Team USA won the senior team gold medal and swept both the junior and senior all-around medals, as well as all four individual event crowns. Douglas led the team to gold while capturing the senior all-around crown. Smith and Hernandez rounded out the senior podium. Jordan Chiles of Vancouver, Wash./Naydenov Gymnastics, claimed the junior all-around title. Emma Malabuyo of Flower Mound, Texas/Texas Dreams, finished second, followed by Gabby Perea of Geneva, Ill./Legacy Elite Gymnastics, in third. The event champions were: Skinner, senior vault; Locklear, senior uneven bars; Hernandez, senior balance beam; Raisman, senior floor; Chiles, junior vault; Perea, junior uneven bars; Malabuyo, junior beam; and Trinity Thomas of York, Pa./Prestige Gymnastics, junior floor. Additional U.S. medals include: Douglas, senior uneven bars silver and floor bronze; Hernandez, senior vault silver; Raisman, senior balance beam bronze; Emily Schild of Huntersville, N.C./Everest Gymnastics, senior vault bronze; Smith, senior balance beam and floor silver; Chiles, junior uneven bars bronze; and Malabuyo, junior uneven bars and floor exercise silver.
  • Stuttgart World Cup, Stuttgart, Germany. Amelia Hundley of Hamilton, Ohio/Cincinnati Gymnastics, claimed the women’s all-around bronze medal.
  • Pacific Rim Championships, Everett, Wash. The U.S. women earned a total of eight medals, including team gold. Biles won gold and Raisman claimed silver in the senior all-around competition. In event finals, Locklear took top honors on the uneven bars, while Smith and Raisman placed first and second, respectively, on the balance beam. In the floor final, Raisman, 2012 Olympic floor champion, brought home the gold, and Brenna Dowell of Odessa, Mo./Great American Gymnastics Express, claimed the silver. Hernandez was also a member of the gold medal-winning team.
  • P&G Championships, St. Louis, Mo. Biles became the first woman since 1974 to win four-straight senior women’s all-around crowns. She also claimed three individual event titles: vault, balance beam and floor exercise. Locklear was the uneven bars champion.

Men’s gymnastics

  • AT&T American Cup, Newark, N.J. Whittenburg finished second in the all-around and Mikulak was fourth.
  • Stuttgart World Cup, Germany. Leyva picked up the all-around silver medal.
  • Pacific Rim Championships, Everett, Wash. The U.S. men won 13 medals (seven gold, five silver and one bronze). The USA claimed the men’s team gold and all six event titles. Mikulak earned the all-around bronze medal and placed second on pommel horse. Whittenburg earned gold on the still rings and parallel bars, and all-around and vault silver medals. John Orozco of the Bronx, N.Y./Team Hilton (U.S. Olympic Training Center), was the high bar champion and still rings silver medalist. Eddie Penev of Penfield, N.Y./Team Hilton (U.S. Olympic Training Center), won the vault title and finished second on floor exercise. Naddour clinched the pommel horse gold medal and Dalton was the floor exercise champion.
  • Rio Olympic Test Event, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  Orozco earned three medals: silver on pommel horse, and all-around and horizontal bar bronze. Dalton was the vault silver medalist.
  • Osijek World Challenge Cup, Croatia.  The U.S. men won five medals: Paul Ruggeri of Manlius, N.Y./Team Hilton (U.S. Olympic Training Center), vault and horizontal bar silver and floor bronze (tie); Steven Legendre of Port Jefferson, N.Y./Team Hilton (University of Oklahoma), floor bronze medalist (tie); and Sean Melton of Columbus, Ohio/Ohio State University, parallel bars bronze medalist.
  • P&G Gymnastics Championships, Hartford, Conn. Mikulak won his fourth straight U.S. all-around title, the first man since Blaine Wilson to do so. The individual event champions were: Dalton, floor exercise and vault (tie); Donothan Bailey of Colorado Springs, Colo./Team Hilton (U.S. Olympic Training Center), pommel horse; Whittenburg, still rings; Matthew Wenske of Houston, Texas/Cypress Academy of Gymnastics, vault (tie); Brooks, parallel bars; and Ruggeri, horizontal bar.
  • Junior Pan American Championships, Sucre, Bolivia. The USA won the men’s team title and hauled in 11 medals total (four gold, three silver, and four bronze), the most of any team in the competition.

Rhythmic gymnastics

  • Miss Valentine Cup, Tartu, Estonia.  Nastasya Generalova of Los Angeles/California Rhythms, won the all-around and ribbon silver medals.
  • Pacific Rim Championships, Everett, Wash. The U.S. Rhythmic team swept the gold medals, winning 11 gold medals total. For the entire rhythmic competition, the USA won 16 medals (11 gold and five silver). The U.S. claimed the team title, and Aliya Protto of Culver City, Calif./California Rhythms, and Lili Mizuno of Brentwood, Calif./North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center, won the senior and junior all-around titles, respectively. The individual event gold medalists were: Protto, senior ball, hoop and clubs; Feeley, senior ribbon; and Mizuno, junior ball, hoop, clubs and rope. The silver medalists were: Protto, senior ribbon; Feeley, senior all-around, hoop, and ball; Brigita Budginas of Agoura Hills, Calif./California Rhythms, senior clubs. The U.S. Rhythmic Team members were:  Budginas; Heather Chan of South Pasadena, Calif./Isadora; Feeley; Nicole Kaloyanov of Woodbridge, Va./Gymnastics World; Protto; and junior Mizuno.
  • Minsk (Belarus) World Cup. Zeng won two bronze medals, the first-ever World Cup medals for a U.S. rhythmic gymnast.

Trampoline

  • Pacific Rim Championships, Everett, Wash. Team USA won four medals (one gold, two silver and one bronze). The women brought home the gold in the team competition and the men earned the team bronze. Both Shaylee Dunavin of Amarillo, Texas/Trampoline and Tumbling Express, and Jeffrey Gluckstein of Atlantic Highlands, N.J./Elite Trampoline Academy, earned women’s and men’s individual silver medals, respectively.
  • Shanghai (China) World Cup.  Dakota Earnest of Plains, Texas/T&T Express, and Dunavin, won the senior women’s synchronized trampoline gold medal. Team USA also picked up a bronze medal in senior men’s synchronized trampoline with Jeffrey Gluckstein and Aliaksei Shostak of Lafayette, La./T&T Express.
  • USA Gymnastics Championships, Providence, R.I. The senior U.S. champions were: trampoline – Steven Gluckstein (men), and Dunavin (women); tumbling – Brandon Krzynefski of Centreville, Va./Capital Gymnastics National Training Center (men), and Natalie Ory of Pocatello, Idaho/Team Revolution (women); double mini-trampoline – Casey Chandler of Reno, Nev./Legacy Trampoline and Tumbling (men), and Kristle Lowell of Orland Park, Ill./One World Gymnastics (women); synchronized trampoline – Dooley and Steven Gluckstein (men), and Dunavin and Earnest (women).

Acrobatics

  • Belgium World Cup, Puurs, Belgium. Team USA won three bronze medals: women’s pair - Maren Merwarth and Jessica Renteria, both of San Antonio/Acrobatic Gymnastics of San Antonio; mixed pair - Axel Osborne and Tiffani Williams, both of Moreno Valley, Calif./Realis Gymnastics Academy; and women’s group - Londrea Garett, Amanda Kievsky and Emilia Segel, all of Columbia, Md./Emilia’s Acro Gymnastics and Cheer.
  • World Acrobatic Championships, Putian, China. Team USA’s Williams and Osborne won the mixed pair silver medal.
  • USA Gymnastics Championships, Providence, R.I. Osborne and Williams won their second-straight U.S. mixed pairs title, and Merwarth and Renteria earned back-to-back titles in women’s pair. The women’s group crown went to Emma Bentov-Lagman, Cristin Connerney and Lilianna Dyer, all of Annapolis, Md./1st Class Gymnastics Inc., while Carson Breen, Cole Francis, Sinjin Nelson and Luke Schlabach, all of of Gloveland, Fla./Defy Gravity, took the men’s group title.
  • Poland World Cup and International Acro Cup, Rzeszow, Poland. Merwarth and Renteria clinched the women’s pair title. Team USA also claimed gold at the International Acro Cup: senior mixed pair – Aisley Boynton and Maxim Sedochenkoff, both of Riverside, Calif./Realis Gymnastics Academy; senior women's group – Bentov-Lagman, Connerney and Dyer; and junior women’s pair – Samantha Conway and Lally Seither, both of New Orleans, La./Crescent City Gymnastics. Additional medalists from the International Acro Cup were: Elanor Chang of Columbia, Md., Calista Davis of Ijamsville, Md., and Madison Freed of Mount Airy, Md., all of Emilia’s Acro Gymnastics and Cheer, junior women's group, second place; and Jarrett Darrah and Emma Fitzgerald, both of Placerville, Calif./Nor Cal Acro, junior mixed pair, second place.