Madison Kocian and Kyla Ross made history Saturday night at the University of California, Los Angeles’ Pauley Pavilion as the first two U.S. Olympic champions ever to compete in NCAA gymnastics.
But simply competing wasn’t enough for the UCLA freshmen.
They helped their team, ranked No. 4, win the meet over No. 17-ranked Arkansas, 195.700 to 195.350.
And both women had standout individual performances, showing a successful transition from elite to collegiate gymnastics.
Kocian, who at 19 won uneven bars silver and team gold at the 2016 Olympics as part of the “Final Five, won the all-around Saturday with a score of 39.425. She also won three of the events: her 9.875 on uneven bars was part of a three-way tie for first, and her 9.850 on balance beam was a two-way tie for first, as was her 9.875 on floor exercise.
Ross, a member of the 2012 “Fierce Five” team at age 15 and 2013 world all-around silver medalist, was part of the three-way tie on bars (9.875) and was third on vault with a 9.875. She earned a 9.700 on beam.
“Our athletes put on a show,” said UCLA head coach Valorie Kondos Field, according to UCLA. “This is the biggest crowd for a first meet in UCLA's history (6,513), and I believe every one of them will come back because our girls just stayed in the game and put on a show.”
Kocian and Ross weren’t the only Olympic champions in attendance: Ross’ “Fierce Five” teammate and 2011 world all-around champion Jordyn Wieber is part of UCLA’s coaching staff, and Kocian’s teammate Simone Biles, a four-time Olympic champion, was cheering on her former teammates.
UCLA next competes against No. 1 Oklahoma on Sunday, Jan. 15.