We can’t get enough of the USA Women’s Gymnastics Team. And not just because we have a gymnast in the house (and-ahem!-a former gymnast. . . ). It’s also because they are just a fantastic group of women who are super-amazing role models. I could not restrain myself from making a list why.
- They are awesome. This goes without saying, and yet we can’t stop saying it, because they are freaking unbelievable. And there have been tons of stories hither and yon about how these women are tremendously stronger, more powerful advanced from “old fashioned” gymnasts that it’s practically a completely different sport, and in these stories, it makes it sound like the gymnasts of last century were, like, cartwheeling and sashaying around. But you know what? Olga Korbut and Nadia Comaneci were amazing, too. These young women have quadrupled amazing and given it two-and-a-half twists.
- They named themselves. Actually, before the “Final Five” named themselves in 2016, the “Fierce Five” named themselves in 2012. But, for both teams, I think that rocks. This just resonated for me because it’s a message that we talk about a lot in Girls Circles: Define yourself. Don’t let others do it for you.
- The name that they chose is a tribute to their mentor Martha Karolyi. Which is thoughtful and respectful and sweet.
- They’re, like, a multicultural explosion. Two black women, a Jewish woman, a Latina, and a white woman. I know that they didn’t, you know, plan this on purpose or anything, but it still gives me a little patriotic surge of delight to see US team full of such diversity. Especially since. . .
- They’re so loving with each other and such terrific supporters of each other. I remember hearing a quote from someone–I think Aly Raisman–saying that she wished the all-around competition could have included more than two team members per country because their team was so strong. I couldn’t find that quote, but I found other examples of the teammates giving each other all sorts of love.
- Simone Biles is just freakin’ owning her personal narrative. That quote about how she’s “the first Simone Biles” and the way, when reporters tried to make a sob story about overcoming obstacles or tried to parse her family she relationships, she just shut that shit down with complete firmness and zero drama. (And I’m a little annoyed, because I started this bullet point before looking for a link, and the one I found said she “owned it,” too. But I swear I had that phrase typed in already. Really.)
- Laurie Hernandez says this little “I got this” mantra before each routine. I love this positive self-talk. I think many of us should do more of this. Plus she is just so positive and joyful all the time.
- Simone Biles, at least, has way more where this came from. I read an article this morning about how she casually threw an extra twist into her dismount one day, and it’s on video because, according to the article, she said, “Go get your iPad because I’m only doing it once and if I die, I want it on video.” Why yes, the article includes the video.
- Not only are these women awesome, they’re not all humble and self-deprecating. They’re like, yeah, we’re the best. We’re so talented. And they should say that. You know why? Because they are so talented, and they are the best.
And what’s even more delightful is there are so many other examples of fabulous girl power beyond gymnastics. Like:
- Simone Manuel becoming the first African American woman to win an individual event in swimming. Another great one to watch, because she looked completely surprised. And if you missed her medal ceremony, it was my very favorite kind of medal ceremony: the kind with both singing and crying. Near the end her lip is totallytrembling. So heartwarming, man.
- Katie Ledecky, who’s racked up four gold medals and a silver. And, incidentally, also stayed up until 2:30 am so that she could greet her roommate Simone Manuel with a hug after she won her gold. (Another super-supportive teammate!)
- Ibtihaj Muhammad won a bronze medal in fencing and became the first American to compete in the Olympics wearing a hijab.
- Michelle Carter becoming the first American woman to win gold in shot put.
and of course there are more. But I’ve got to stop gushing now. I am too tired from staying up too late watching the Olympics.