Meet the five formidable women on the U.S. gymnastics Olympic team

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Meet the USA Women's Gymnastics Team


The five women who secured spots on the U.S. gymnastics team Sunday night are diverse, accomplished, and dedicated athletes. They're also fashion enthusiasts; Zac Efron and Texas Rangers fans; and poets. Two of them won gold together at the last London Olympics. And all of them lead pretty cool lives outside of the gym.

Simone Biles
Age: 19
Hometown: Spring, Texas

Nickname: the "Michael Jordan of Gymnastics"

Strengths: Often described as the sport's highest-profile female gymnast, she's a favorite winner for the all-around competition in Rio.As a seven-time champion (four U.S. titles, three worldwide), she's also the most decorated American female gymnast in World Championships history with 14 medals (ten of them are gold). At the 2013 World Championships, she became the first African-American woman to win all-around champion.

Backstory: Born to a mother addicted to drugs and alcohol, Biles was adopted by her maternal grandparents at age 6. Her grandfather, whom she calls her dad, served in the Air Force for 22 years; his wife is from Belize. Biles was home-schooled from eighth grade through high school. She planned to attend UCLA after the Rio Olympics, and last summer announced she'd go pro instead.

Music: Today's hot hits, Chris Brown, Justin Bieber

Celebrity crush: Zac Efron

TV shows:Pretty Little Liars, Keeping up with the Kardashians

Mantra: "Be the Best Simone."

***

Gabby Douglas
Age: 20
From: Virginia

Nickname: the "Flying Squirrel"

Strengths: After becoming the first African-American woman to win all-around gold at the London Games, the Fierce Five alum is now the team's defending Olympic champion.

Backstory: She started gymnastics at age 6, after her oldest sister persuaded their mom to sign them up for classes.

Showbiz: Following a Lifetime original movie (The Gabby Douglas Story, 2014), she's currently executive producer of Oxygen's Douglas Family Gold, a reality TV show about her family. Also: There is now a Gabby Douglas Barbie "Shero" doll.

Boyfriend? "No, I don't have a boyfriend; I don't have time," she said on an episode of Douglas Family Gold. "All of my attention and focus was spent, you know, in the gym, training, so I was already in a relationship, and his name was Jim ... Nastics."

Loves: reading, knitting, roller coasters

Secret talents: the card game called Speed, bowling

Food: pizza

If she wasn't an athlete: She'd maybe do stand-up.

Greatest luxury: post-competition deep tissue massages

***

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The top 5 gymnasts of the 2016 US Olympic team
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The top 5 gymnasts of the 2016 US Olympic team
Gymnast Simone Biles poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California March 7, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Jul 8, 2016; San Jose, CA, USA; Simone Biles from Spring, TX, during the uneven bars in the women's gymnastics U.S. Olympic team trials at SAP Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
SAN JOSE, CA - JULY 10: Simone Biles competes on the balance beam during Day 2 of the 2016 U.S. Women's Gymnastics Olympic Trials at SAP Center on July 10, 2016 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO - JUNE 24: Simone Biles competes on the vault during day one of the 2016 P&G Gymnastics Championships at Chafitz Arena on June 24, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 20: Gymnast Gabby Douglas poses for a portrait at the USOC Rio Olympics Shoot at Quixote Studios on November 20, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Jul 10, 2016; San Jose, CA, USA; Gabby Douglas during the balance beam in the women's gymnastics U.S. Olympic team trials at SAP Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
Gabby Douglas competes on the balance beam during the U.S. women's gymnastics championships Sunday, June 26, 2016, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Jul 8, 2016; San Jose, CA, USA; Gabby Douglas from Tarzana, CA, during the vault in the women's gymnastics U.S. Olympic team trials at SAP Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 20: Gymnast Aly Raisman poses for a portrait at the USOC Rio Olympics Shoot at Quixote Studios on November 20, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO - JUNE 24: Aly Raisman competes on the balance beam during day one of the 2016 P&G Gymnastics Championships at Chafitz Arena on June 24, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Jul 8, 2016; San Jose, CA, USA; Aly Raisman, Needham, MA, during the balance beam in the women's gymnastics U.S. Olympic team trials at SAP Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
Aly Raisman reaches for the top bar on the uneven bars during the preliminary round of the women's Olympic gymnastics trials, Friday, June 29, 2012, in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 20: Gymnast Madison Kocian poses for a portrait at the USOC Rio Olympics Shoot at Quixote Studios on November 20, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
SAN JOSE, CA - JULY 08: Madison Kocian competes on the balance beam during day 1 of the 2016 U.S. Olympic Women's Gymnastics Team Trials at SAP Center on July 8, 2016 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Madison Kocian competes in the vault during the U.S. women's gymnastics championships, Friday, June 24, 2016, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Madison Kocian of the United States performs on the uneven bars during the women's qualifying of the Artistic Gymnastics World Championships at the Guangxi Gymnasium in Nanning, capital of southwest China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region Sunday, Oct. 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
U.S. gymnast Laurie Hernandez poses at the Karolyi Ranch Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015, in New Waverly, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
EVERETT, WA - APRIL 09: Laurie Hernandez of the United States competes on the uneven bars during Day 2 of the 2016 Pacific Rim Gymnastics Championships at Xfinity Arena on April 9, 2016 in Everett, Washington. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
July 10, 2016; San Jose, CA, USA; Laurie Hernandez, from Old Bridge, NJ, during the floor exercise in the women's gymnastics U.S. Olympic team trials at SAP Center. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 8, 2016; San Jose, CA, USA; Laurie Hernandez from Old Bridge, NJ during the balance beam in the women's gymnastics U.S. Olympic team trials at SAP Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
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Aly Raisman
Age: 22
From: Massachusetts

Nickname: "Mama Aly," as the team's oldest member. She's also expected to return as team captain.

Strengths: Returning Olympic floor champion (she keeps her London medals in a bank safe). She was the most decorated American gymnast at the London Olympic Games, winning the first-ever U.S. gold medal for a win-clinching floor exercise and a bronze for the balance beam. Her specialties are vault and floor.

Showbiz: She finished fourth on Dancing With the Stars in 2013.

Backstory: Growing up, she obsessively watched a VHS tape of the Magnificent Seven women's gymnastics team, which won the first-ever U.S. gold in women's gymnastics at the 1996 Olympics. Her mom was a gymnast in high school. Raisman was a part-time student at Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts, for a year, but right now she's focusing on the Olympics.

If she wasn't an athlete:She'd work in fashion, and still dreams of going to Paris Fashion Week. She loves Gossip Girl for the clothes.

Superstitions: If she falls during a competition, she'll never wear that leotard again. Her coaches think the color black is bad luck.

Beauty products:Revision Skincare, including a papaya enzyme cleanser, finishing touch, Retinol, a hydrating serum, vitamin C lotion, D.E.J face and eye cream, and a black mask for baths.

Likes: Boston sports, hot yoga

TV shows:Pretty Little Liars, The Ringer, Dance Moms

***

Madison Kocian
Age: 19
From: Texas

Nickname: Maddie

Strengths: Current world-champion gold medalist of uneven bars, her greatest strength for the Rio Games. She also performs well in the other three events, making her an ideal backup if other teammates get injured.

Backstory: The Dallas native loves baseball and the Texas Rangers. She'll be a freshman at UCLA this fall. Her mom signed her up for gymnastics because she was constantly climbing out of her crib. The family has two rescue dogs: Biscuit, a collie/golden retriever mix, and Pete, a terrier.

Beauty look: She always ties a side French braid back into a ponytail. Hair clips are placed in the exact same order for every competition.

Lucky charm: A small block engraved with the mantra "Think positive and positive things will happen." She packs it in her suitcase for every competition and training camp.

Music: pop music before competitions; Carrie Underwood and country music when she isn't at the gym

TV shows: Blacklist, America's Got Talent

One Olympic dream: To hear from the Texas Rangers, and take her dad out on the field to throw a first pitch.

Role model: Nastia Liukin

Hobbies: cooking new recipes for her family, shopping with her mom on weekends

***

Laurie Hernandez
Age: 16, the youngest teammate
From: New Jersey

Strengths: floor routine (just watch her amazing faces during floor routines), beams.

Accolades: This is her Olympic debut. She was junior all-around champion at last year's P&G Championships, where she earned medals in all four events, and recently won all-around bronze at the senior national championships.

Backstory: At age 5, her first-generation Puerto Rican parents bribed her to go to ballet and dance classes with sugar cookies. Then they signed her up for gymnastics. Her mom was in the Army Reserve for six years.

If she wasn't an athlete:She'd be an actress.

TV shows: Law and Order, Dancing with the Stars, The Voice

Hobbies: learning from YouTube dance videos, swimming, writing poetry, sketching, painting her nails

Celebrity crushes: Theo James, Liam Hemsworth, Dave Franco, Chris Evans, Zac Efron

Greatest influence: Simone Biles

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