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12 Facts You Didn’t Know About Team USA’s Rio Medalists

By Lisa Costantini | Oct. 11, 2016, 5:58 p.m. (ET)

After 16 days of the Rio Olympic Games, where 558 Team USA athletes competed in 27 sports, we feel like we really know our athletes. But did you know one gold medalist had to be talked into joining a sport that she didn’t even know was in the Olympics? Or which two-time Olympic champion fan-girled over meeting Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt? Find out the answers to those, along with 10 other fun facts Team USA medalists revealed on their victory tours.

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1. If the game Hungry Hungry Hippos was an Olympic sport, Laurie Hernandez and Aly Raisman would come in first in that, too.

2. Michael Phelps — who admitted his drive to succeed is because he hates to lose — has been setting goals for himself since he was 9 years old.

3. When USA Triathlon first talked Gwen Jorgensen into giving the sport a try — and it took “a lot of convincing” — she didn’t even know it was an Olympic sport.

4. Kristi Castlin is a fan of wearing a bindi on her forehead when she competes, but most don’t know that she wears it in honor of her mom.

5. Gabby Douglas was really excited to meet the fastest man in the world, Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, in Rio.

6. Katie Ledecky has a mean throw!

7. After Rio, Madison Kocian started school at UCLA.

8. Kyle Snyder has had Tokyo 2020 on the brain since even before Rio. While competing in Rio, he was also thinking about the $250,000 he would get if he won gold.

9. Nathan Adrian would love to give two other upcoming Olympic sports a try: surfing and rock climbing.

10. Simone Manuel left Rio and headed back to Stanford, where she’ll rejoin the swim team.

11. Simone Biles is a big fan of “One Tree Hill” and “Modern Family” and can’t wait to start binge watching them.

12. Allyson Felix — who injured her ankle while working out prior to Olympic Trials — admitted that even though she tried to act like the injury was nothing in Rio, this “was a very different Olympic Games for me.” Rio was “all about overcoming obstacles.”

Related Athletes

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Laurie Hernandez

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Aly Raisman

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Michael Phelps

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Gwen Jorgensen

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Kristi Castlin

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Gabrielle Douglas

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Katie Ledecky

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Madison Kocian

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Nathan Adrian

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Simone Manuel

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Simone Biles

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Allyson Felix

Track and Field