Following a powerful qualifying heat on Sunday, the U.S. women’s gymnastic team once again dominated the competition Tuesday—winning the team competition gold medal by an unprecedented margin. The U.S. scored 184.897, impressively beating out second-place Russia by eight points. As USA Today pointed out, the gap between the U.S. and Russia is more than double the gap between silver-winning Russia and last-place Brazil.
Laurie Hernandez kicked things off on the vault earning a score of 14.8— the best vault score of of the day. Next up was uneven bars, where Madison Kocian and Gabby Douglas earned two of the highest uneven bars scores. Hernandez, along with first-time Olympians Aly Raisman and Simone Biles followed next, all scoring over 15 points on balance beam. Finally, Hernandez, Raisman and Biles performed their floor routines. Raisman stuck nearly every landing, while Biles performed a near flawless execution, scoring an incredible 15.8.
After the score was announced, the women huddled together and cheered in unison, “We are the Final Five!”
Per tradition, the team knew they had to come up with their own team nickname—such as the “Fierce Five” in 2012 or the “Magnificent Seven” in 1996—or one would arbitrarily be chosen for them. The team considered several possibilities, including GLAMSquad, Flawless Five and Fiercest Five, which were all eventually discarded.
Then Biles suggested “Final Five,” which alludes to the upcoming retirement of national team coordinator Martha Karolyi. This will be the final team coached by Karloyi, who is largely credited for the much of the U.S. team’s success since she started 15 years ago.
“The Final Five,” Karolyi said tearfully. “It’s crushing.”
The name is even more fitting given the way the Americans have become undisputedly the best gymnastics team in the world over last five years. With two consecutive Olympic golds and three world championships titles in 2011, 2014 and 2015, no country has won five consecutive team titles at major international competitions since 1976.
“Every year we became better and better and I think at this moment we can say the United States dominates the world of gymnastics,” said Karolyi.
Additionally, this is the last Olympics where five gymnasts will represent each country in the team competition — it will be reduced to four in Tokyo in 2020.
Hence, the self-labeled nickname of the Final Five.
The U.S. team will compete again Thursday in the individual all-around competition.