The Olympics may have ended, but the love for the Final Five never ends. The U.S. Women’s Gymnastics Team became an overnight sensation in light of their incredible performance at the Rio Olympics; Aly Raisman, Laurie Hernandez, Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas, and Madison Kocian dominated at Rio, winning gold as a team, and continued to up the medal count for the USA in their individual events. They have been called the best gymnastics team in history, with Simone Biles at the helm as the best gymnast the world has ever seen. In short, they are unstoppable. Their biggest challenge in the coming years? Saying goodbye to longtime coach and team coordinator, Martha Karolyi, and adapting to Keith Walker, an avid Twitter user experienced in the art of critiquing a sport he knows nothing about.
The team, dubbed The Final Five to commemorate the retirement of the national team coordinator and gymnastics legend, Martha Karolyi, as well as the change in team size from 5 to 4 at the 2020 Olympics, has been incredibly excited to find out the identity of the new coordinator. Karolyi has been the coordinator for the last 15 years, and a coach for the last 40. In her first trip to the Games, Karolyi coached Nadia Comaneci to the first perfect ten in Olympic history. Through 11 straight Olympic Games, Karolyi has seen dominance of the sport switch hands from the Soviet Union to Romania, and finally to the United States. Their eight point margin of victory in the team competition only cemented the proof that the United States has come to command the field; however, the team and USA Gymnastics’ fans are ready to say a bittersweet goodbye and usher in a new era of domination in the field.
When the team announced the name “The Final Five,” no successor had been mentioned or announced. Following Rio’s Closing Ceremonies on August 21st, many USA Gymnastics experts took to social media in hopes of finding some clue as to who will fill Karolyi’s incredible legacy.
The Slant has acquired the privilege of announcing that Twitter user @urmum has been named to follow in Martha Karolyi’s footsteps. The man behind the account, Keith Walker, has been studying the 2016 Games closely to look for areas of improvement that can be focused on in the next four years. Walker, a mid-level representative at a local auto insurance company, has little experience in actual gymnastics, but had plenty to say on his Twitter feed as he watched his new trainees in Rio. One tweet focused on the importance of appearance in the sport: “Biles is wearing a pound of makeup. she’d need anuthr pound to make her a 10 in my book” and put into perspective the many details that are crucial for victory.
Walker’s comments highlight an issue in women’s sports: too large of a focus on the actual sport. The new coach looks to improve the aesthetic of the team with an increased focus on sparkle, makeup, and hair. While many gymnasts wear their hair in a tight updo and have it cut short to avoid getting it caught under a hand or on the equipment during stunts, Walker made it clear what he wants from the team. “The girls look like they’re 12, nobody wants to see that on tv” he commented. “Would it kill them to wear a little bit of mascara?” Biles, largely acclaimed as the most dominant gymnast of all time, was seen entering a Sephora later that day.