The 2016 U.S. Women’s Olympic Gymnastics team was announced late Sunday evening. Since childhood I’ve been fascinated with the mental and physical strength of these remarkable athletes. Let’s look at the names of the talented young women that will represent the U.S. in Rio de Janeiro this summer.
The U.S. Women’s Olympic Team
Simone Biles is the reigning three-time world all-around champion. Biles is dynamic to watch and is favored to win the individual all-around gold medal. Simone is a French feminine form of the name Simon meaning he has heard. Simone peaked in popularity in 1988 and has steadily declined ever since. Currently ranked at Number 821, I’m curious to see if Biles’ presence will help revive the name Simone. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson used the name Simone Alexandra for his daughter born in 2001.
Gabrielle Christina Victoria “Gabby” Douglas made Olympic history in 2012 as the first African American woman to become the individual all-around champion. Gabrielle is a French feminine form of the name Gabriel meaning God is my strength. Renowned designer Coco Chanel’s given name was Gabrielle. Gabrielle peaked in the late 1990s climbing up to spot Number 46 and today ranks at Number 205. Gabriella has soared in recent years, coming in ahead of Gabrielle at Number 54.
Alexandra Rose “Aly” Raisman was the captain of the U.S. Women’s Gymnastics team in the 2012 Summer Olympics. Alexandra is a Greek feminine form of the name Alexander, meaning defender of man. Alexandra was in the Top 100 from 1984 to 2014 and just fell to Number 101 last year. Alexandra has many attractive nicknames including Aly, Alex, Alexa, Alexia, Andy, Lex, and Lexi. Actors Sean Astin and Daniel Baldwin each have daughters named Alexandra.
Madison Taylor Kocian was the 2015 world champion on the uneven bars. Madison is an English surname meaning son of Maud. Madison first entered the Top 1,000 in 1985 following the release of film Splash, in which the main character is named Madison. A Top 10 name from 1997 to 2014, Madison just fell out of the Top 10, currently ranked at Number 11. Musician Melanie Brown and actor Johnny Knoxville each have daughters named Madison.
Lauren “Laurie” Hernandez preformed two nights of nearly-flawless beam routines during the Olympic trials. Lauren was the 11th most popular girls name in 2000 when Laurie Hernandez was born. Today Lauren ranks at Number 119. Lauren is a variation of Laura meaning bay laurel. Lauren first entered the charts in 1945, the year after Lauren Becall’s first film appearance.
The Replacement Gymnasts
Mykayla Brooke “Mikki” Skinner competed in the 2014 World Championships, helping the U.S. team win a gold medal. Mykayla is one of the many spelling variations of Michaela, meaning who is like the Lord. Mykayla is not currently ranked however, Makayla, Mikaela, Mikayla and Michaela are all in the Top 1,000. Last year 42 baby girls were given the name Mykayla with this spelling.
Ragan Elisabeth Smith is one of the youngest members of the team and is expected to compete again in the 2020 Tokoyo Olympics. Ragan is a spelling variation of the Irish Reagan, meaning little king. While Ragan is not in the Top 1,000, Reagan is currently Number 99 and rising in the charts. The name Reagan may also remind you of former U.S. President Ronald Reagan.
Ashton Locklear is the 2014 US Champion on the uneven bars. Ashton is currently Number 141 for boys and isn’t in the Top 1,000 for girls. An English name meaning ash tree hill, 189 girls were named Ashton last year. Ashton is often associated with actor Ashton Kutcher.
Which of these athletes’ names do you enjoy?