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Carly Patterson Ponders The Question 'Is The Final Five The Greatest Gymnastics Team We Will Ever See?'

By Carly Patterson, 2004 Olympic All-Around Gymnastics Champion | Aug. 18, 2016, 12:59 a.m. (ET)

Olympian Carly Patterson poses for a photo with her gold medal at WOGA (World Olympic Gymnastics Academy) in Texas.

Carly Patterson helped lead a resurgence of success for Team USA in gymnastics when she won gold in the all-around at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, the first U.S. woman to do so in 20 years. She will serve as TeamUSA.org’s written correspondent during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, providing her take on the women’s gymnastics competition.

This is my last blog now that gymnastics has wrapped up in Rio — sad! I hope everyone has had as much fun watching as I have! I just wanted to thank Team USA for this opportunity and thank you guys for reading.

This could definitely be a once in a lifetime U.S. women’s team we saw in Rio. They came away from these Olympics with nine medals (the most the U.S. women have ever won) and that is absolutely incredible. Two of those medals were won Tuesday after Simone added a fourth gold medal to her collection and Aly took home the silver on the floor exercise! The 1984 Los Angeles team came close with eight medals.

After witnessing total dominance over the last several weeks, it makes you wonder: Will it be possible to recreate a team like the “Final Five” ever again? In my opinion though, I could totally see it happening again due to all the groundwork and the strong foundation that Martha Karolyi has laid for the USA Gymnastics program. The program that is in place brings these girls together one week out of every month and helps them to build not only their own confidence, but also a team spirit and a sisterhood.

I’m so thankful to have been a part of the beginning of what Martha created. I was also lucky enough to be a part of WOGA Gymnastics -- the club I trained at growing up -- and the legacy that they created more than a decade ago. They have had continued success and created three Olympic champions from 2004 (me!), 2008 (Nastia Liukin) and 2016 (Madison Kocian). A little fun fact, which I think is pretty neat, is that different people coached Nastia, Madison and myself. I think that shows the depth and quality of coaching that WOGA has. I know Texas is so proud to be bringing home two more medals, that is all the news stations can talk about!

I have to give a quick congratulations to Alex Naddour on his bronze medal on the pommel horse and ending the 32-year drought and Danell Leyva on his silver medal on parallel bars and high bar! I couldn’t be happier for them!! I know it didn’t turn out exactly the way the men’s team wanted it to, but to be able to finish on a high note is something to be proud of and I cant wait to see what the Tokyo 2020 Olympics has in store for them!

Once these Games come to a close, it’s going to spark a whole new generation of little gymnasts wanting to be just like the “Final Five.” Every four years, our sport has a lot of rule changes, normally making the competition even harder. There has been such an evolution, just since I competed, and I feel like the sport is at its peak in the level of difficulty we are seeing. I am really looking forward to seeing what the future holds for USA Gymnastics and what the next crop of talent is capable of achieving. I have no doubt that we will all continue to be mesmerized!


— Carly Patterson

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