The Greatest Female Gymnasts Of This Generation

Athletes | 5/11/19

Gymnasts conduct themselves with elegance, power, and emotion. They train endlessly throughout their childhood in order to stick that important landing or perfectly execute that dynamic floor routine. During the summer Olympics, gymnastics is one of the most popular events to watch.

But, for many, their fame ends with the Olympic Games. Where is Aly Raisman, or McKayla Maroney today? What are they doing? This article explores some of the most famous masters of the mat and gives you a much-needed update on how they’re doing and where they’re at.

Sandra Izbasa One Of The Most Well-Known Gymnasts In Romania’s Deep History

Romania's Sandra Ralcuca Izbasa
AFP/GettyImages
AFP/GettyImages

Sandra Izbasa is a retired Romanian gymnast and double Olympic champion. She won the floor event at the 2008 Olympics and the vault at the 2012 Olympics. She’s also the winner of two Olympic bronze medals as part of the Romanian team from 2008 and 2012, as well as multiple World and European Championship medals.

She’s become the most well-known gymnastics athletes to ever come out of the Carpathian’s since Nadia Comaneci. And what she did after 2012 just might surprise you.

Sandra Went Back And Forth With Retirement

Crying Gymnast At London 2012 Games
Quinn Rooney/Getty Images
Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

Sandra went back and forth between deciding to retire from gymnastics. She loved the sport so much and up until that point in her career, the gym was literally all she knew. She decided to take a break in 2013 to go study for a bachelor’s degree but was pushed back into the sport to compete in the 2013 Worlds.

She came out of retirement again in 2015 to try for the 2016 Olympic team but soon quit after she realized that she wouldn’t be in good enough shape to compete at the Olympic level.

Jamie Dantzscher Helped Move The U.S. Gymnastics Team To Stardom

Jamie Dantzscher
Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photos via Getty Images
Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

Jamie Dantzscher was one of the most famous faces in gymnastics back at the turn of the 21st century. Dantzscher took the United States Women’s Gymnastics team to great heights, helping them reach fourth place in the 2000 Olympics, which was a big accomplishment at the time.

They actually won the bronze retroactively, when in 2010 it was found that the Chinese gymnastics team in 2000 had lied about the ages of several of its competitors.

Coming up, find out why Aly Raisman decided to leave high school in her senior year.

Dantzscher Is Still Coaching Gymnastics

Jamie Dantzscher after
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Dantzscher competed in college at UCLA and was voted to the All-American team every year during her undergraduate career. She won seven, yes seven, NCAA championships. Dantszcher is currently a coach in gymnastics giving back to the sport that helped her throughout her life.

She has been in the news recently because of her allegations of abuse at the hands of several of her coaches, including a former US women’s gymnastics coach. She’s a fighter on and off the mat.

Simona Peycheva Competed In Two Olympics

Simona Peycheva Bulgaria
Scott Barbour/ALLSPORT
Scott Barbour/ALLSPORT

Simona Peycheva is one of the best gymnasts to have ever come out of Bulgaria. Beginning her gymnastics career at the age of six, she had a multitude of victories throughout her early years on the international stage.

She’s competed for her country in the 2004 Athens and 2008 Beijing Olympics. She mainly does rhythmic gymnastics as her specialties include hoop, the ball, and the club. Peycheva is a national treasure in her home country, and it’s easy to see why.

Simona Is A Bulgarian Treasure

Simona Peycheva performs duri
GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP/Getty Images
GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP/Getty Images

After she retired from gymnastics and competitions, she continued to stay involved with the sport. She’s now a famous judge who scores competitions all over her native Bulgaria as well as the world.

Since retiring from competition, she married and even gave birth to a son named Aleksey. She had a controversial ending to her career in 2014 when she was not accepted to be part of the Bulgarian team she was so used to competing with.

Aly Raisman Quit School To Pursue Her Dreams

Aly Raisman Olympics Gold
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

Aly Raisman took a liking to gymnastics at the ripe old age of two-years-old. She quickly developed a life long passion for the sport. In fact, she left high school to pursue her dream of going to the Olympics by finishing her senior year of school online.

She would go onto win six Olympic medals for the United States, three golds, two silvers, and a bronze. In her near decade of work, Raisman is one of the most iconic American gymnasts of all time.

Find out who the only gymnast to compete in four straight Olympic finals is. That’s just ahead.

Aly Raisman Is Now A UNICEF Ambassador

Aly Raisman Now At Gala
Taylor Hill/Getty Images
Taylor Hill/Getty Images

Now that’s she’s basically a household name in North America, she’s been given the job of being a brand ambassador for UNICEF Kid Power, A UN-funded venture to give kids wristbands which help track their exercise.

She was in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue in 2017 and 2018 and was a contestant on season 16 of Dancing with the Stars. She ended up finishing fourth. She has since appeared in a Maroon 5 video and been one of the major faces in the case against Larry Nassar and his abuse.

Almudena Cid Tostado Was Given The Royal Order Of Sports Merit

Almudena Cid Competes With Hula Hoop
LLUIS GENE/AFP/Getty Images
LLUIS GENE/AFP/Getty Images

Almudena Cid Tostado is a retired gymnast from Spain. She’s the only rhythmic gymnast to compete in four Olympic finals. She became the first Spanish gymnast in history to have competed in two Olympic finals and she’s the only rhythmic gymnast to make the finals at four consecutive games.

She never won any medals for Spain at the Olympics but was able to win some Mediterranean Games gold medals. She was given the gold medal in the Royal Order of Sports Merit in 2009, which is a Spanish civil Order of Merit.

Almudena Spends Her Time As A Commentator Now

Almudena Cid Session Now On Stairs
Oscar Gonzalez/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Oscar Gonzalez/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Tostado retired from the sport of gymnastics in 2008 after the Beijing Olympics. She had been professionally training for 21 years. After her retirement, she decided to go into media and has been working as a sports commentator for rhythmic gymnastics competitions.

She also wrote a children’s book called Olympia which is a collection of stories in which she talks about her sporting life and the lessons she learned. She’s also a Nike model for their athletic wear and recently married her fiance Christian Galvez.

Coming up, an American gymnast turned Megan Fox stunt double.

Alicia Sacramone Is The Second Most Decorated Gymnast

Alicia Sacramone Competes On The Beam
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

Alicia Sacramone started her gymnastics career at age eight. She knew that she wanted to be a gymnast from the moment she stepped onto the mat. She started competing competitively when she was just 11 and by the time she was 12, made the national team.

Sacramone won a silver medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and she also went onto win 10 World Champion gymnast medals making her the second most decorated American gymnast in history.

Alicia Was One Of The First Female Athlete CoverGirls

Alicia Now In British Garb
Harry How/Getty Images for USOC
Harry How/Getty Images for USOC

Alicia is now retired and enjoying the fruits of life outside the gym. She teamed up with Shawn Johnson, and Nastia Liukin to become the first female athletes ever signed as a CoverGirl spokesmodel. She’s appeared in a Gatorade commercial, and in 2011 she appeared nude in ESPN’s 2011 “Body Issue” and talked about how her body has evolved throughout her elite career.

She was inducted into the USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame in 2016 and was also inducted into the Louisiana Italian American Sports Hall of fame the same year.

Kristina Baskett Found Her Stride In Utah

Kristina Baskett On The Gym
Scott Bruhn/NCAA Photos via Getty Images
Scott Bruhn/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

Kristina Baskett first started her gymnastics career in Seattle, Washington, but she really only realized it was her strongest passion when she went to the University of Utah. She made the Utah Red Rocks Gymnastics Team and excelled to new heights (literally).

She received the College Sports Information Directors of American Academic All-American award as well as the Dahl Award. She ended up finishing her degree with a BS in mass communications and electronic journalism.

Baskett Is Now A Stunt Double

Then And Now With Kristina Braskett
Scott Bruhn/NCAA Photos via Getty Images
Scott Bruhn/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

Baskett probably couldn’t even imagine what her life would end up being as a student at the University of Utah. She now works as a professional stunt double, typically working with actress Megan Fox. She’s also appeared on several episodes of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, NCIS: Los Angeles, and even on Game of Thrones.

She says that her career in gymnastics really helps her when she’s a stunt double. Whenever she takes a hard fall, she knows from experience that she can get back up and do it again.

Just ahead, the only Swiss gymnast to compete in the Olympics is making her mark.

Shawn Johnson

Shawn Johnson On The Balance Beam
Nick Laham/Getty Images
Nick Laham/Getty Images

It was clear from a very young age that Shawn Johnson was going to be a star. She started her gymnastics career when she was just six years old and quickly took to the mat like a duck to water. She rose to international fame after winning the 2008 Olympics balance beam gold medal and all around and floor exercise silver medal.

She made the U.S. Women’s Gymnastics team by putting up one of the best rookie seasons ever recorded in the history of gymnastics.

She Danced With The Stars And Won

Shawn Johnson East Now Talking
Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images for Westfield
Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images for Westfield

Johnson has since retired from the sport following a knee injury that will likely stay with her for the rest of her life. But, she hasn’t stopped being active, in fact, she won Dancing with the Stars. She also came second in Dancing with the Stars all-star season which is impressive.

She’s been on The Ellen Show, The Secret Life of an American Teenager, Regis and Kelly and currently lives in Nashville with her husband Andrew East.

Giulia Steingruber Stands Alone In Swiss Gymnastics

Minas Panagiotakis On The Bar
Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images
Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

Guilia Steingruber is a Swiss artistic gymnast. She’s the 2016 Olympic bronze medalist on vault and a European champion in all-around, vault, and floor. She’s the first Swiss female gymnast to win a European all-around title and the first Swiss female gymnast to win an Olympic gymnastics medal of any color.

During the London Olympics, she was the only gymnast representing her country that year, which is extremely impressive in itself. She continued to compete afterward.

Find out what McKayla Maroney has been doing since she became a household name after her performance at the 2012 Olympics.

She Continued Her Success From The Olympics

Giulia Steingruber
Matthias Hangst/Getty Images for BEGOC
Matthias Hangst/Getty Images for BEGOC

Steingruber success on the world stage helped propel her to instant fame in Switzerland. She competed in the 2017 World Gymnastics Championships and finished third in the vault. It was her first World Championship medal.

Steingruber continued that success in 2018 when he competed at the Koper World Cup in Slovenia, winning gold medals on vault and floor and a silver on the balance beam. She broke her Tibia and tore her ACL later in 2018 and has been recovering since.

McKayla Maroney Wants Gold And Gold ONLY

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Reuters
Reuters

McKayla Maroney first burst out onto the international gymnastics scene during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. She was a massive reason that the American squad ended up taking home gold overall.

She might be best known for the disappointing look on her face when she found out she only won the silver medal for the vault. She was devastated, and while most people would be ecstatic about winning a silver medal, she looked like she got last place by her reaction.

McKayla Maroney Took Up Acting

Gymnast Mykayla
Twitter / @mcKaylaMaroney
Twitter / @mcKaylaMaroney

Ever since the days at the 2012 Olympics, she skyrocketed to fame around the world. She’s been taking advantage of that fame by appearing in a Thirty Seconds to Mars music video and even begun a career in acting.

She had a recurring role in the show Hart of Dixie and has since taken a break after retiring from gymnastics. She’s was a high-profile accuser during the Larry Nassar sexual assault case. In 2018, it was announced she would win the Arthur Ashe Courage Award.