It’s no surprise that since the change of the code in 2006, the U.S. women’s team has been successful, but just how dominant have they been? Would it surprise you to know that they have more than double the number of medals than the next highest country?
So what do the numbers actually say? There were a total of 209 team and individual medals up for grabs between 2006 and 2017. In 2009 and 2015, there were four medal winners on bars which account for the extra two medals.
In contrast to the men, there are only 18 countries that have managed to make the women’s podium compared to the 29 from the men’s competition.
What is of particular interest is that since 2006, the U.S. women’s team has either improved or retained their place from qualification every year except 2006 when they placed first in qualifications and ended up winning the silver medal in the finals. The team is also the only team in the world to have stood on the podium every year since 2006, with the last five straight medals being gold.
It’s an accomplishment that established a dynasty in the way the Soviets did from the 1960s into the 1980s, with the Romanians taking over shortly after, but considering the biggest sexual abuse scandal in the history of sports was happening behind the scenes, it makes what these U.S. gymnasts did even more impressive. These women are strong in character, skill, and passion and what they’ve achieved amidst sub-par training facilities and an abuse-driven culture is to be applauded.
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There has been talk and concern about the United States being unable to put together a team that can top the podium again this year, but these gymnasts have been the most successful in the world by far under the kind of turmoil, pressure, and abuse that no human should have to endure. This team will not fail because of a lack of a national coordinator or a national training facility, but will rather persevere as they always have.
Failure doesn’t come from a different color medal or from no medal at all. Failure comes only from a lack of integrity and from a system that cared more about the color of a medal than the well being of actual human life, and frankly the young women who have served our country have integrity in spades. They have already won.
Article by Kensley Behel