U.S. Fab Five step into 'surreal' spotlight

Fri Aug 12, 2016 11:05am EDT
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By Scott Malone

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Fresh from winning the team gold medal and Simon Biles' historic first-place performance in the all-around competition, the U.S. women's gymnasts stepped into the media glare on Friday looking a bit shellshocked by the attention.

"I'm looking forward to going home and seeing my family and being in my house and everything, just being in a home," said 19-year-old Biles, when asked what she was most anticipating after Rio.

"I'm pretty sure I'll just go on lockdown in my house," said Biles, of Houston. "It won't be exactly normal but we'll make it as normal as possible."

Normality could be hard to achieve in the next few months for the five athletes in their teens and early 20s, warned Aly Raisman, the 22-year-old captain of the team.

Raisman, who finished behind Biles in the all-around to clinch individual silver, was part of the squad that won the team gold in London in 2012 and remembers the whirlwind of attention that followed.

"It's very exciting and very crazy. I've told them a lot about it," said Raisman, who lives outside Boston. "Back in the States everyone's going to be taking photos and asking for our autographs and it's very surreal."

In a long-beloved ritual for U.S. Olympic champions, Kellogg's said on Friday that the faces of Biles and her team mates would appear on boxes of Special K breakfast cereal.

The team were on the first of two rest days before the competition resumes on Sunday with the women's uneven bars and vault final.   Continued...

2016 Rio Olympics - Artistic Gymnastics - Final - Women's Team Final - Rio Olympic Arena - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 09/08/2016. (L-R) Simone Biles (USA) of USA, Gabrielle Douglas (USA) of USA (Gabby Douglas), Laurie Hernandez (USA) of USA, Madison Kocian (USA) of USA, Alexandra Raisman (USA) of USA (Aly Raisman) pose with their gold medals on the podium after winning the women's team final.   REUTERS/Mike Blake