I write this post after being inspired watching the US Women’s gymnastics team claim the team gold medal in Tokyo at the World Gymnastics championships this weekend. It was a sweet victory after a serious of injuries knocked out many of the seasoned gymnasts from the US National team. The veteran and team captain, Alicia Sacramone, suffered a ruptured achilles tendon only days before the Worlds were set to begin and there was worry that this would lead to disaster.
Competing with a team made up of almost all first time senior gymnasts, at their very first World Championships, the US led by a substantial lead for all four rotations and secured the gold medal by 4 whole points- a very large lead in a sport that is often separated by tenths, if not hundredths of points. It is pretty amazing that a group of young, inexperienced gymnasts were able to step onto that World stage with so much confidence and poise and not miss a beat, even after watching their team leader go down with such a serious injury.
I watched on TV as the camera zoomed in on the girls, just before they headed to their final rotation, and heard Alexandra Raisman (the one seasoned competitor and step in team captain for Sacramone) telling her teammates that they just needed to relax, have fun and give it all they had cause they were about to experience the best moment of their lives. And right she was… the US gymnasts pulled it off in a convincing fashion.
It really shows that even after disaster strikes a team can still come together for a common goal and support one another all the way to victory. People may have doubted that it was possible due to the inexperience of the team, but it was obvious when those girls stepped up onto the mats that they knew that they could do it. They believed in themselves, they believed in their teammates and Alexandra Raisman really did a great job of stepping up to the plate as the team leader- a difficult thing to do when your training mate and friend goes down injured.
It just shows the strength of having a dream and chasing a common goal- the team that follows this path can truly be unbeatable.