Gymnastics have become more and more popular especially at the Olympic Games over the years and it’s become one of the most competitive, talent-filled events in Olympic history. In this article we’ve listed 10 Top Gymnasts competing at the Rio Olympics (5 male, 5 female) to look out for this summer!
1. Simone Biles (USA)
She’s a 3-time world all round champion and also the first African-American to achieve this and she’s also the most decorated American female gymnast in history with 42 gold medals since 2011. She was only a junior when the Olympics were hosted in London in 2012 so she didn’t compete there, the Rio Games will be her first Olympics.
2. Gabby Douglas (USA)
A female, artistic gymnast who won gold at the London 2012 Games in the individual, all round and team competitions. She played an integral part in the gold-medal winning American Team in the 2011 and 2015 world championships.
3. Laurie Hernandez (USA)
Hernandez started her elite career at the age of 12 in 2012 where she finished 11th in the Juniors. She was made eligible for the USA squad by competing in her first senior event in Jesolo, Italy where she picked up the bronze medal behind gold medalist Gabby Douglas and teammate Ragan Smith.
4. Aly Raisman (USA)
The captain of the USA gymnastics team (see main image), Aly Raisman is held in high regard by the gymnastics squad. She won gold at London 2012 in the team and floor competitions and a bronze medal on the balance beam which made her the most successful US gymnast at these Olympics.
5. Madison Kocian (USA)
Highly regarded as a bar specialist. At the 2015 world championships she gained gold medals at the team and uneven bars events. In 2016 at the WOGA classic she also picked up golds in team, uneven bars and balance beam events showing her skill as a good all round gymnast.
6. Louis Smith (UK)
The poster boy of British Gymnastics, Louis Smith is a talent to watch out for this year at the Rio Olympics, albeit a proven talent! He gained bronze medals at the Beijing and London Olympics in the pommel horse and team events. He also gained a silver medal at the London Games on the pommels. At the Glasgow world championships in 2015 he also won 2 silver medals in both team and pommel horse events and will definitely be aiming for his first major gold this summer.
7. Kohei Uchimura (Japan)
This 5 time Olympic gymnast and multi-medallist hardly needs any introduction! His tally stacks up as 11 gold medals, 10 silver and 5 bronze medals in his career so far so he’s a very decorated athlete and will go in as favourite for the gold this year as well. He scored gold in the all round at the London Games.
8. Daniel Purvis (UK)
Whilst Daniel has yet to hit the heights of the elite class, at the national level he’s a 3-time British all around champion gymnast which is no mean feat. He will be looking to better his bronze medal gained in London at the team event. At the Glasgow world championships in 2015 he achieved a silver medal in the team event for GB and will be hoping for a continuation of form going into Rio.
9. Cheng Yibing (China)
Part of the successful Chinese gymnastic team that dominated the Beijing and London Games, Cheng Yibing was a consistent performer attaining 3 gold medals and 1 silver in the last two Olympics on the ring and team events. The Chinese will be tough to beat this year but the Brits as well as the Japanese will assuredly be hot on their heels!
10. Giarnni Regini-Moran (UK)
This 16 year-old has emerged as a potential star for Rio after having a superb amateur gymnastic career picking up 5 medals including 3 golds on the floor, vault and all round as well as 2 bronze medals on the parallel and horizontal bars. If not this summer, he’s most certainly going to be a star of the future!
There you have it, 10 great, very different gymnasts to watch out for, all of whom are intensively training for Rio right now. Keep a look out for them and since the standard of competition is high you’re guaranteed to see them rock the stadium with some electrifying performances this summer! Which country’s teams and athletes do you enjoy watching the most? Let us know in the comments below, and join in the conversation on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram!