Mikaela Mayer

Photo via Mikaela Mayer/Instagram

Watch them compete in the games, but also follow their journeys in photos.

Forget Michael Phelps and his historic number of medals. The women of Team USA are just as strong, beautiful, and inspiring. Here are 10 of our favorites to follow on Instagram. 

1) Gabby Douglas

Douglas was the first African-American all-around gymnastics champion in Olympic history and the first American gymnast to win gold in both the individual all-around and team competitions at the same Olympics. Starting Sunday, the 2012 gold medalist will be back to defend her title. 

that bun tho @_biancaland #poppin #mood

A photo posted by Gabby Douglas (@gabbycvdouglas) on

2) Simone Biles

Along with Douglas, Biles makes the U.S. women’s gymnastics team a force to reckon with this year. The 19-year-old is already the first African-American gymnast to be an all-around world champion and the first woman to win three consecutive world all-around titles. 

A photo posted by Simone Biles (@simonebiles) on

3) Mikaela Mayer

Boxer, model, and first-time Olympian, Mayer is just one of two women to represent the U.S. in boxing. This is her first Olympics.

4)  Natasha Hastings

New Yorker Hastings made her Olympic debut in Beijing in 2008, when she competed in the 4x400m relay and won gold. Her mother and father, from Trinidad and Jamaica, respectively, were also both were runners. In Rio, she will be competing in the women’s 4x400m and the women’s 400M relay.

Also, can we just say #squadgoals.

5) Serena Williams

Williams is, inarguably, the best tennis player in the world. She holds the most singles, doubles, and mixed-doubles titles of any tennis player, male or female. Her matches in Rio are expected to be some of the most-watched of the games. 


A photo posted by Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) on

6)  Maya Moore

This year, Moore won her third WNBA title as a member of the Minnesota Lynx, and was named MVP of the WNBA All-Star Game. She was also a 2012 Olympic gold medalist and plans to earn the U.S. basketball team yet another gold in Rio.

7) Brittney Griner

Another member of 2012 gold-medal-winning women’s basketball team, Griner is 6-foot-eight, plays for the Phoenix Mercury, and is apparently an avid Pokémon Go player.

Great win tonight 🇺🇸 #USA Now it’s time to relax and Pokémon hunt! YES I PLAY YES I LOVE THIS GAME!!!!! Gotta catch em all!

A photo posted by Brittney Griner (@brittneyyevettegriner) on

8) Anita Alvarez

New York native Alvarez will compete in synchronized swimming on August 14. Her mother was also a synchronized swimmer who coached the sport for 30 years. This is Alvarez’s first Olympics.

9) Ibtihaj Muhammad

Muhammad, of New Jersey, is a member of the fencing team and the first Muslim woman who wears a hijab to represent the U.S. at the Olympics. Muhammad is also the founder and owner of Louella Shop, which specializes in modest fashion.

10) Claressa Shields

Claressa Shields, from Flint, Michigan, was the first American woman to win the boxing gold, a title she took home in the London games at age 17. Shields was also the subject of the 2015 documentary T-Rex: Her Fight For Gold.

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Lyz Lenz

Lyz Lenz

Lyz Lenz is currently the managing editor of the Rumpus. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Jezebel, the Columbia Journalism Review, and Mashable.

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