Heading into the Olympic trials, gymnast Madison Kocian knew she had a shot at making the 2016 Olympic team. When she twice posted the highest score on the uneven bars, fans and media members began to think that perhaps Kocian had done what she needed in order to make the trip to Rio.
Even so, Kocian didn’t know for sure that she had made the Olympic team until the five representatives were announced at the end of the trials. Then, it was revealed that Kocian had made the team, joining the likes of Simone Biles, Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas, and Laurie Hernandez on Team USA.
Get to know Madison Kocian with the five facts below.
1. Kocian trains in a gym known for all-around champions.
Kocian began training at the World Olympic Gymnastics Academy — known as WOGA — in 2003. The gym, which is located in Plano, Texas, is known for producing big-name Olympic all-around champions such as Carly Patterson and Nastia Liukin.
Kocian began training with Natasha Boyarskaya when she was young and still works with Boyarskaya today. Additionally, Kocian trains under Laurent Landi. She spends about 35 hours in the gym each week.
— Nastia Liukin (@NastiaLiukin) July 12, 2016
2. Madison got started in gymnastics for a unique reason.
Even before Kocian ever stepped foot into a gym, her mother, Cindy, knew she was destined to be an athlete. On her USA Gymnastics bio, Kocian shared the reason why her mother put her in gymnastics in the first place.
“My mom put me in gymnastics because I would always climb out of my crib.”
3. Kocian recently recovered from an ankle injury.
In March, Kocian met with media members while wearing a cast and walking on crutches. At the time, Kocian said that the injury was “nothing major,” but that it would keep her out of a few upcoming competitions.
“I’m just trying to look at the positive, and it’s better that it’s happened now than the summer or something like that,” Kocian said in March. “It’s nothing like major, so I know I can come back stronger and I’ll be ready for all the meets coming up.”
Kocian made it clear that her ultimate goal was to be healthy and prepared when the Olympic trials and national championship meets came around so that she could have her best shot at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
“For sure, by the summer I’ll be good for all those meets.”
— NBC Olympics (@NBCOlympics) July 11, 2016
4. Kocian brings much-needed skill to the uneven bars.
Kocian was likely named to the Olympic team because of the superior skills she brings to the uneven bars — an event in which the United States is weaker. Kocian is widely known as a specialist in the event.
Madison is a world champion on the uneven bars, having won a gold medal at the 2015 World Championships in the event. Additionally, she earned silver in the event at the 2014 Pan American Games.
Uneven bars world champ, and now 2016 OLYMPIAN!????????????
— U.S. Olympic Team (@TeamUSA) July 11, 2016
5. Kocian is committed to become a UCLA Bruins
After the Olympic Games are over, Kocian plans to head to California to be a member of the UCLA Bruins women’s gymnastics squad. The 19-year-old is currently committed to join the team during the fall of 2016. With her selection to the Olympic team, Kocian joins a long list of 22 Bruins who have competed in the Olympic gymnastics meet, according to the school’s website.
Are you looking forward to watching gymnastics at the 2016 Olympic Games? Will you tune in to watch Madison Kocian compete on the uneven bars?
[Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images Sport]