Biography: The Fierce Five – Gabrielle Douglas, McKayla Maroney, Alaxandra “Aly” Raisman, Kyla Ross, Jordan Wieber

WOMEN’S 2012 U.S. OLYMPIC  TEAM: “THE FIERCE FIVE.”
GOLD MEDAL TEAM CHAMPIONS: 2012 OLYMPIC GAMES
Gabrielle Douglas, McKayla Maroney, Alaxandra “Aly” Raisman, Kyla Ross, Jordan Wieber

Inducted: 2013

From Left to right: Kyla Ross, Alaxandra “Aly” Raisman, McKayla Maroney, Jordan Wieber, Gabrielle “Gabby” Doulgas
Gabrielle “Gabby” Douglas

Getting Started: Gabrielle Douglas began training in gymnastics at age six when her older sister, Arielle, convinced their mother to enroll her in gymnastics classes.  Douglas began her training under the supervision of coach Dena Walker at Excalibur Gymnastics in Virginia Beach.  In October, 2010, at age 14, Douglas moved from Virginia Beach to West Des Moines, Iowa to train under Liang Chow, the former coach of 2007 World Champion and 2008 Olympic Gold Medalist Shawn Johnson.  Douglas was home schooled by her host family.  She is the first woman of color and the first African-American gymnast in Olympic history to become the individual all-around champion.  Summer Olympics: “Gabby” Douglas was a member of the Gold Medal winning U.S. Women’s Gymnastics Team, Gold-AA, Team (first American gymnast to win gold in both individual all-around and  team competitions at the same Olympics, Bejing; (2012)  World Championships: Gold-Team, Tokyo;  (2011).  Other International Competitions: Pacific Rim: Gold-Team and UB, Seattle; (2012); Pan American Championships: Gold-UB, Gold-Team, 5th AA, Guadalajara; (2010); City of Jesolo Cup: Gold-Team, Silver-FX, Bronze-BB, 4th AA and V, Jesolo, Italy; (2011). U.S. National Competitions: USAG Nationals: Gold-UB, Silver-AA, Bronze-FX-St. Louis; (2012); USAG Nationals: Bronze-UB, 7th AA, St. Paul; (2011): Nastia Luikin Invitational: 4th AA, Worchester; (2010); Cover Girl Classic: Silver-UB, Chicago; (2011).

McKayla Maroney

McKayla Maroney: Considered possible the best female vaulter ever. Summer Olympics:. At  these Games Maroney became known by the nickname “meme” that translates to a cultural  item  that is transmitted  by repetition  in a manner analogous to the biological transmission of genes. In a layperson’s terms, she was capable of being absolutely focused. The term was coined by R. Dakson, a British Biologist. McKayla went about the Olympic competition probably taking everything in stride with very little emotional signs. The internet further made the name “Meme” memorable.  Gold-Team, Silver-Vault, London, England; (2012).   World Championships: Gold-V, Antwerp, Belgium; (2013).  Gold-Team,  Gold-V, Tokyo, Japan; (2012); Other International Competitions:  Pan American Championships: (Junior), Gold-Team, Gold-V, Gold-FX, Guadalajara, Mexico, (2010); City of Jesolo Trophy: Gold-Team and V, Jesolo, Italy, (2012). Gold-AA, V, Team,  Jesolo, Italy, (2011); U.S. National Competitions: USAG Nationals:  Gold-V and FX, Hartford, (2013);   Gold-V, Silver-AA, St. Pau l, (2011), USAG Nationals: During warm-ups for the second day of competition (2012), she fell on a tumbling pass on floor landing on her back. Maroney was taken to the hospital and diagnosed with a minor concussion and nasal fracture. She took a week off from training and successfully petitioned to compete at the Olympic Trials, Secret U.S. Classic:  Gold-V, 10th BB, Chicago, (2012).   Family: Maroney was born in Aliso Viejo, California to Mike and Erin Maroney. Her father was a quarterback at Purdue University, and her mother was involved in figure skating and high school sports.  She has two siblings, Tarynn and Kav.

Alexandra “Aly” Raisman

Alexandra “Aly” Raisman:  Summer Olympics:Gold-Team and FX (first female U.S.  gymnast ever to win Gold on FX in Olympic competition), 4th AA (tie for 3rd), Bronze- BB. Alexandra also served as Captain of the U.S. Team. First place finish earned the team the epithet “The Fierce Five”. World Championships: Gold-Team, Bronze-FX, Tokyo, Japan, (2011), Silver-Team, 4th FX, Rotterdam, Netherlands (2010).  Other International Competitions: Pacific Rim Championships:Gold-Team, Silver-AA, BB and FX, Melbourne, (2010); City of Jesolo Trophy: Gold-Team, Silver-AA and FX, Bonze-UB, Jesolo, Italy, (2012); City of Jesolo: Gold-Team, BB and FX, Bronze-AA and V, Jesolo, (2011); City of Jesolo:Gold-Team, AA, Jesolo, (2010), American Cup: Silver-AA, New York, (2012), American Cup: Bronze-AA, Jacksonville, (2011), American Cup: Silver-AA, Worchester, (2010).  Jr. Pan American Games: Gold-Team, Bronze-AA, Gold-V, FX, Brazil, (2009). U. S. National Championships:  Olympic TrialsBronze-AA, Gold-BB and FX, San Jose, (2012); USAG Nationals: Gold-BB and FX, Bronze-AA, St. Louis, (2012), USAG Nationals: Bronze-AA and FX, St. Paul, (2011), USAG Nationals: Bronze-AA, BB and FX, Hartford, (2010).  Family:  Parents: Rich and Lynn Raisman (former high school gymnast) and three younger siblings: Brett, Chloe and Madison.

Kayla Ross

Getting Started: Kayla Ross began gymnastics when she was three years old at Greenville Gymnastics Training Center in Greenville, South Carolina. She later trained at Richmond Olympiad in Virginia and National Gymnastics Training Center in Aliso Viejo, CA before she moved to Gym-Max Gymnastics in Costa Mesa, California in 2005.  Her coach, Jenny Zhang, was skeptical about Ross’s future in gymnastics. She has said, “She had this square body, no legs, square shoulders. Howie (Liang) said ‘Don’t worry about her. She will have long legs.” Summer Olympics:  Gold-Team, London, England, (2012).  World Championships: Silver-AA, UB and BB, Antwerp, (2013). Other International Competitions:  City of Jesolo Trophy: Gold-Team and UB, Silver-AA and BB, Jesolo, Italy, (2013).  City of Jesolo: Gold-Team and AA, Jesolo, Italy, (2012). Pacific Rim: Gold-Team and BB, Silver-AA and UB, Bronze-FX, Seattle, (2012).  Junior Competitions: Pan American Games: Gold-Team and AA, Silver-FX, Guadalajara, (2010). Pan American Games: Gold-Team, AA, BB and UB, Silver-FX, Brazil, (2009). City of Jesolo:Gold-AA, Jesolo, (2011)  City of Jesolo: Silver-AA, Jesolo, (2010). U.S. National Championships: USAG Championships:Gold-UB and BB, Silver-AA, Hartford, (2013); USAG Championships: Silver-UB, St.Louis, (2012). Secrets Classic: Silver-AA and UB, Chicago, (2012). Olympic Trials: Gold-UB, Bronze-BB, 5th-AA, San Jose, (2012).  Family: Parents-Jason and Kiana Ross.  Her father is of black and Japanese ancestry, and her mother is of Filipino and Puerto Rican descent.  She has two younger siblings.

Jordan Wieber

Getting Started: Jordan Wieber started gymnastics at a young age. “I was probably two or three. My parents noticed that I had unusually bigger muscles than a typical little kid, so they put me in gymnastics. A little fun class where I could run around and play and stuff and just have fun. Then I actually stopped for a little bit to do dance class. When I was four I went back [to gymnastics] and that’s kind of when I started getting really into it.”  She later enrolled with John Geddert, who handpicked her to his Silverstars program, and by age 10, she had qualified to Level 10 in the Junior Olympic program, and then qualifie d for international elite a year later in 2006. Summer Olympics: Gold-Team. London, England, (2012).  World Championships: Gold-Team, Gold-AA, Bronze-BB, 4th-UB, 6th-FX, Tokyo, Japan, (2011).  Other International Competitions: Pacific Rim: Gold-Team, AA and FX; Seattle, WA, (2012). Pacific Rim: Gold-Team, Melbourne, (2010).  American Cup: Gold-AA, New York, (2012); American Cup: Gold-AA, Jacksonville, (2011); American Cup: Gold-AA, Chicago, (2009).  City of Jesolo Trophy: Gold-Team, Silver-AA, V and BB, Bronze-UB, Jesolo, Italy, (2011).  Junior Team Cup International Gymnix: six Gold Medals, Site? (2009-an unheralded accomplishment in international competitions). U.S. National Competitions: USAG Nationals: Gold-AA, Silver-FX, 5th-UB and BB, St. Louis, (2012), USAG Nationals: Gold-AA, UB and FX, Bronze-BB, St Paul, (2011).  Cover Girl Classic: Gold-UB and BB, Chicago, (2011).  Secret U.S. Classic:Gold-BB, Chicago, (2012).  Olympic Trials, (2012)-Silver-AA and FX,  Bronze-BB, 4th UB, San Jose, (2012).  Wieber was injured in 2009 and 2010 and unable to compete in the USAG Nationals.   Family:  Parents: Mother: Rita (Reifsnyder) Wieber who is an emergency room nurse and exercise physiologist, and Father, David Wieber, who is a director at a health-care subsidiary.  She is the third oldest of four children.   Her maternal grandmother is of Lebanese descent.

Sources:  Group photo provided by USA Gymnastics, other data and photos obtained for the public domain (Wikipedia/Google) by 2008-2013 Web Manager Jerry Wright, author of Gymnastics Who’s Who-2010.  Editing by Dr. Larry Banner, 1993 GHOF Inductee & 1894-2007 Web Manager, Ph.D. & Ed.D.