Simone Biles and Aly Raisman just took home the gold and silver, respectively, for the all-around individual competition at the Rio Olympics. Part of the Final Five, the girls have grown close from competing alongside each other in the games. The bond of fellow athletes and teammates is a strong one, especially in a foreign place representing your country. While it's Biles' first Olympics, Raisman is a vet, having competed in the 2012 London Games. It's earned Raisman the nicknames "Mama Aly" and "Grandma Aly" from her teammates who have relied on her guidance through their first time at the events.
But that's not the only reason she's earned the moniker. In an interview with NBC, Biles explains that it's due to her early bedtimes that she is called "grandma." "She's like our sleeping little grandma," she said. And if Raisman is the grandma, Biles is the baby. "Simone reminds me of that little kid that doesn't sit still," Raisman said. Raisman commented on the number of sugar packets Biles will consume in a cup of tea (it's seven) and jokes that she has the right to tell her to stop because she's the "mama."
Those who have followed the Final Five's journey during the games see Biles and Raisman spotted together often at the gym. And they frequently poke fun at each other, both in life and on Twitter. Biles attributes their bond to their personalities being so different. After all, opposites attract, right?
Another side of the nickname, at age 22, Raisman is considered an "older" gymnast. For a sport that prizes young girls for their flexibility and agility, reaching your twenties is somewhat of a setback, as your body is naturally not as elastic as it is in the early teens. In 1997, the International Gymnastics Federation raised the minimum age for Olympic gymnasts from 15 to 16 due to health concerns. Plus, as an Olympic veteran, like teammate Gabby Douglas, Raisman serves as a guide for the girls at the competition for their first time.
When the team took the gold medal in the group all-around final, it was apparent that the five girls have formed a close bond throughout their journey. They all worked together and shined during their turns to keep the United States' hold on the title of world's best women's gymnastics team. Biles and Raisman made history today when they became the second pair of U.S. gymnastics to earn the top two spots during the individual all-around. It's exciting to see the United States bring home another gold in gymnastics, and to see them enjoy it with each other.