USA Gymnastics officially announced the members of the 2017 Hall of Fame induction class, Saturday, which included the “Final Five” 2016 women’s gymnastics team, Shawn Johnson, and former coach Miles Avery.
The 2016 women’s gymnastic’s team as a whole, including Laurie Hernandez (Old Bridge, NJ), Miles Avery (Philadelphia, PA), Shawn Johnson-East, Gabby Douglas, Mihai Brestyan, Chellsie Memmel and Sean Townsend.
As one of the most dominant teams in Olympic history, the “Final Five” being inducted comes as little surprise. Featuring Hernandez, Douglas, Simone Biles, Madison Kocian, and Aly Raisman, the group dominated competition en route to winning America’s third team gold medal in women’s gymnastics history. In the end, the team combined to take home nine medals, and when the rest of the women begin to retire, notably Hernandez, Biles and Raisman, they will likely be inducted on their own merit as well.
Douglas, who retired soon after the Rio games, is being inducted on her own, after winning two team gold medals as well as the 2012 all-around title. On top of being one of the most decorated Olympic gymnasts, her remarkable feats and world titles help solidify her status of one of the greatest of all-time.
Avery was coach of four men’s Olympic teams, including gymnast Paul Hamm who won America’s first men’s all-around world and Olympic titles. On top of that, Avery contributed as head coach of Ohio State University men’s gymnastics for 13 years, taking home the national title in 2001.
Joining Avery in the coaching ranks is legendary leader Mihai Brestyan, who after steering Alicia Sacramone to ten world and a silver medal at the Olympics, he took on Raisman as a pupil, and helped guide her to two Olympic bids and three gold medals. With Raisman’s career still potentially still continuing, it’s possible that his pedigree could get even better in the future.
Shawn Johnson-East helped continue the string of American dominance in the women’s gymnastics all-around, when she took second behind teammate Nastia Liukin in the Beijing Olympics in 2008. That, paired with her other three medals in the games made her one of the most accomplished gymnasts in American history. She almost mounted a comeback for the London Olympics, but is currently serving as a motivational speaker in Nashville.
Memmel was only the third American woman to win a world all-around title, one of her six career world medals. She also earned a silver medal in the team competition in Beijing, when she completed her bars routine with a broken ankle to help ice the podium. Townsend earned an American male’s first individual gold gymnastics medal when he took home the parallel bars title in Sydney, helping his team work their way to a silver.
The high quality of the gymnasts and coaches in the 2017 induction class is a true testament to the strength of the program the United States has built over the years, especially on the women’s side. On top of that, it makes one consider the vast amounts of current gymnasts that will likely make the cut in the future, including but not limited to Hernandez, Raisman, Biles, Dannell Lleyva, Madison Kocian and Maggie Nichols.
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