Since 2003, Team USA has experienced a resurgence in artistic gymnastics success. Over the past dozen years, U.S. athletes have been sublime on the world stage, winning an astounding 94 medals at the world championships and Olympic Games, 34 of which are gold. Among those 34 gold medals are 11 individual all-around golds, with an American standing atop the all-around podium in all but two years. To celebrate National Gymnastics Day (Sept. 19), TeamUSA.org looks back at the nine Team USA athletes who have reached the sport's greatest accomplishment in recent history...
1) Paul Hamm - '03, '04
Paul Hamm became the first U.S. man ever to win the world all-around title in 2003. He made history again one year later at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, becoming the first U.S. men’s Olympic all-around champion in 100 years. The two-time Olympian’s epic career also included a world floor title (’03), world floor bronze (’02), two world team silver medals (’01, ’03), an Olympic team silver medal (’04) and Olympic silver on high bar (’04).
2) Carly Patterson - '04
In 2004, Carly Patterson became only the second American woman ever (and the first since 1984) to win the Olympic all-around title. Before the Games ended, she added silver medals in the team and balance beam events to her collection. Patterson won most events she entered leading up to the Athens Games, including two American Cups (’03, ’04), world team gold (’03), and the U.S. all-around and floor titles (’04). She also won world all-around silver (’03).
3) Chellsie Memmel - '05
Chellsie Memmel became the first American woman in 11 years to win the world all-around gold medal when she claimed it in 2005. But that wasn’t her first world title. Memmel was part of the first U.S. women’s team to win world gold in 2003, the year she also grabbed the uneven bars title. Memmel’s lengthy career also includes three world silver medals – uneven bars (’05), balance beam (’05), team (’06) – and an Olympic silver medal from 2008.
4) Shawn Johnson - '07
In 2007 – Shawn Johnson’s first year on the senior national team – she earned three world championship gold medals in the individual all-around, team and floor exercise. At the Beijing Olympics one year later, Johnson was golden on the balance beam and claimed silver medals in the all-around, team and floor exercise. Johnson also won the American Cup in 2007 and finished second in 2008. Her seven world and Olympic medals tie her with Memmel for the sixth-most decorated U.S. women’s gymnast.
5) Nastia Liukin - '08
Before the 2008 Olympic Games, Nastia Liukin had amassed a record nine world championship medals – the most by any U.S. woman at the time. Her resume included four golds (uneven bars – ’05; balance beam – ’05, ’07; team – ’07) and five silvers (all-around – ’05; floor – ’05; team – ’06; uneven bars – ’06, ’07). In Beijing, she claimed the all-around gold to follow in the footsteps of former training mate Carly Patterson. Liukin also won Olympic silver medals in uneven bars, balance beam and team, and a bronze medal on floor. She remains the second-most decorated U.S. women’s gymnast with her 14 world and Olympic medals, with Shannon Miller having the most at 16.
6) Bridget Sloan - '09
Bridget Sloan only competed in one event during the team final of the 2008 Olympic Games, where she helped Team USA win silver. But one year later, Sloan shined the brightest, taking home all-around gold at the 2009 world championships. She added a team silver medal to her resume at the 2010 worlds. The 2009 U.S. all-around champ went on to have a successful NCAA career at Florida, where she earned all-around gold in 2013, two event gold medals and three team titles.
7) Jordyn Wieber - '11
In 2011, her first season as a senior gymnast, Jordyn Wieber swept the American Cup, U.S. and world all-around titles. Also at the 2011 world championships, Wieber took gold in the team event and bronze on the balance beam. In 2012, Wieber won her third American Cup (her first was in ’09), becoming the first woman to win three titles since Mary Lou Retton did so from 1983-85. Later that year, Wieber was part of the Fierce Five gold-medal-winning team at the London Olympics. Wieber and her teammates earned the U.S. its first Olympic team gold since the Magnificent Seven in 1996.
8) Gabby Douglas - '12
Gabby Douglas’ first major international medal came in the form of team gold at the 2011 world championships, where Team USA reached its third-ever win. Douglas reached superstardom of her own at the 2012 Olympics, when she became the first woman of color to win Olympic all-around gold. Douglas also claimed team gold with the Fierce Five, making her the first U.S. gymnast to win individual all-around and team gold at the same Games. Douglas was the third consecutive U.S. woman to win Olympic all-around gold, marking the first time any nation accomplished that feat since the Soviet Union from 1952-60. Douglas returned to competition in March 2015 and hopes to compete at the 2016 Games.
9) Simone Biles - '13, '14
Simone Biles has been the golden standard of gymnastics since 2013, when she won individual all-around gold at the world championships. At the same event, she also picked up gold on floor, silver on vault and bronze on balance beam. Biles was even more dominant at the 2014 world championships, winning four gold medals – all-around, balance beam, floor, team – and a silver medal on vault. She has more world championship gold medals than any other American gymnast in history (and her nine total is second only to Alicia Sacramone’s 10) and is the first American to win five medals at a single world championships. In 2015, Biles became the first woman in 23 years to win a third consecutive U.S. all-around title.