Dominique Moceanu knows a thing or two about winning at the highest level of competition.
A member of the “Magnificent Seven” gold medal-winning team at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, Moceanu has been to the top of the podium, and in her opinion, the 2016 U.S. team has what it takes to reclaim the Olympic Championship won by the 2012 squad in London.
“This women’s gymnastics team is phenomenal,” Moceanu told WKYC on The Olympic Zone Saturday night. “They are the world champions heading into this Olympic Games. There has never been a more heavily favored women’s gymnastics team to win Olympic Gold. They won by nearly five points at last year’s World Championships, and this year, they are going to win by a wide margin.
“I’m pretty certain. I’m almost 100 percent certain. Barring any unforeseen mishap or injury, they have everything going for them to absolutely bring home the gold.”
Moceanu is confident in the American squad because of how they have performed in the past, and the fact that two of their leaders, captain Aly Raisman and Gabby Douglas, were on the gold medal-winning team in London four years ago.
“These girls are so used to pressure,” Moceanu said. “Simone Biles is the three-time all-around world champion. She’s won the national title four times. She knows pressure. Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas are returning Olympians. They know about pressure.
“Madison Kocian and Laurie Hernandez, they’re both newcomers, but Madison is a world champion, so we are really in a great situation with the pressure. They understand what to expect. Of course, there are always situations that we don’t know can happen at the Olympics. That’s why we compete, but I really believe that they can handle it.”
Known as a 14-year old phenom when she helped the Americans win gold in 1996, Moceanu looks on in awe of what Biles has been able to accomplish.
“Simone Biles, she is near and dear to my heart,” Moceanu said. “I love this kid. She’s phenomenal, and I should say young lady because she’s 19 years old. She is truly phenomenal. She is the phenom. She’s doing skills that so many gymnasts wish that they could do. She has an unbelievable amount of difficulty, and she does it with such ease. It’s a lot of fun to watch her. She’s bubbly. She has a ton of personality, so she will be a huge breakthrough star at this Olympic Games.”
As for whether or not the 2016 version of Team USA will go down in history as the best ever, Moceanu is looking forward to finding out over the next two weeks.
“Time will tell because we have to allow the Olympics to unfold and we have to look back at history, but there has absolutely never been anyone on the U.S. team that has the potential to bring home five gold medals,” Moceanu said. “Now that’s impressive. (Biles) does. She truly does have the potential to bring home four or five Olympic gold medals.”