Four years ago at the 2012 London Olympics, the USA gymnastics team nicknamed the "Fierce Five" won the gold medal in the team competition, capturing hearts around the country for their immense skill and dedication. Now that the 2016 Rio Olympics gymnastics team has been announced, fans are seeing some familiar names from 2012, notably Aly Raisman and Gabby Douglas, but the other members of the "Fierce Five" are missing from the action. Yet the reasons why the other women aren't competing in this year's Olympics make total sense, but if you're wondering where Jordyn Wieber is now, for instance, you're definitely not alone.
Wieber, as you might remember, was an integral part of the winning 2012 London Olympics team, and immediately prior to her Olympics career, Wieber had won the all-around and team gold at the 2011 World Championships in Tokyo. Her professional sports career seemed to be on an astronomical rise, but the gymnastics world was shocked when, in March of 2015, Wieber announced her retirement from gymnastics at the ripe age of 19. But what is she doing now, in her post-Olympian life? Well, after enrolling in college in 2013, Wieber became the head team manager of the UCLA gymnastics team and seems to still count the sport as a big part of her life.
In her letter announcing her retirement, Wieber shared her conflicting emotions about leaving competitive gymnastics behind. As The Players Tribute reported, she wrote,
Since the age of four, gymnastics was the center of my entire life. Deciding to end that part of my life was one of the most difficult, emotion-filled decisions I have ever made. I’ve been away from the gym for about a year now. The sadness has been replaced with contentment, and the excitement of college life and new beginnings continues to increase.
When she chose not to return to compete following a stress fracture after the 2012 London Olympics, Wieber enrolled at UCLA and quickly found a spot on their gymnastics team, but in an entirely new role. Because she was professional athlete prior to her enrollment, Wieber could not participate in NCAA gymnastics, and instead joined the team as head team manager, serving as a counselor, choreographing routines, and even deciding which leotards they should wear. As she shared with USA Gymnastics in a 2013 interview,
I'm there to give them a pep talk, move a mat or whatever they need. I train before the team, so they're coming in as I'm working out. Hopefully, my hard work and dedication can help inspire them.
In addition to being head manager of UCLA Bruins gymnastics and being a full-time student, Wieber joined the LA2024 Athlete's Advisory Commission, the committee spearheading the campaign to bring the 2024 Olympics to Los Angeles.
Wieber recently shared a short documentary, "Four Years Later," directed by Deanna Hong, who is the UCLA Gymnastics videographer. The doc follows Wieber while she's independently training and directly answered the question of what Wieber is doing today, after her retirement. She is set to begin her senior year at UCLA following the 2016 Rio Olympics, majoring in Psychology. In "Four Years Later," Wieber was asked what she wanted to be doing in her future, and she said,
I want to do something in leadership or motivational speaking. I would love to pursue psychology even further, possibly in grad school and be able to take what I've learned from the sport, what I learned in college, and I think it would be awesome to travel around and do speeches for companies and sports teams. At the same time, I've loved being a part of college gymnastics, and I think it would be awesome...to be a head coach of a college gymnastics team.
Sounds like Wieber has a very bright future, both with and without gymnastics, ahead of her.