SAN JOSE, Calif. - Ragan Smith of Lewisville, Texas was one of eight athletes named to the United States women’s gymnastics team for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio di Janeiro, Brazil.
Smith, who hit all eight of her routines between the two days of competition at the U.S. Olympic Trials in San Jose, Calif., finished fifth in the all-around and second on balance beam, where her scores of 14.9 on day one and 15.3 on day two are among the highest in the world.
Following a period of deliberation after Sunday night’s competition, national team coordinator Martha Karolyi led the selection committee in choosing the Olympic team, a decision she called the most difficult of her career thanks to Team USA’s massive depth at the moment.
Ten-time world champion Simone Biles, 2012 Olympic gold medalists Aly Raisman and Simone Biles, 2015 world bars champion Madison Kocian, and newcomer Laurie Hernandez are the five set to compete in Rio next month while Smith will serve as a reserve athlete alongside Ashton Locklear and MyKayla Skinner. Smith, who is coached by Kim Zmeskal-Burdette and Chris Burdette at Texas Dreams Gymnastics in Coppell, is the youngest member of the squad and will turn 16 during the Olympic competition in Rio.
Smith, the first gymnast from Texas Dreams to make an Olympic team, will travel to the Olympic Training Center in Huntsville, Texas next week to train alongside the team prior to departing for Rio. As a reserve athlete, she will be expected to stay in peak competition shape until the start of the Games, ready to step in at a moment’s notice in case one of the five is injured or otherwise unable to compete.
The 2016 season was Smith’s first at the senior level, and her results have consistently put her among the top in the country both at home and in international competition. In addition to her finish this weekend, Smith won silver medals on beam and floor at the City of Jesolo Trophy in Italy and the gold medal on beam at the Pacific Rim Championships in Everett, Wash.
Two weeks ago, Smith secured her spot at the Olympic Trials with an eighth-place finish at the U.S. national championships in St. Louis, where her teammates Colbi Flori and Emma Malabuyo also competed. Flori had a fantastic weekend, finishing eighth all-around in the junior division while Malabuyo withdrew to prevent injury, though was named to the junior U.S. national team based on her strong results from earlier in the season.
As a special honor while in St. Louis, USA Gymnastics named Texas Dreams as the 2016 Junior Olympic Program of the Year for the gym’s continued success as one of the best clubs in the country for gymnasts competing in the J.O. system. Texas Dreams has seen success in all levels of the J.O. program this season, including sending nine gymnasts to the J.O. national championships in May.