"The teams in 2004 and 2008, they were world champion teams going into the Olympic games also. They were dubbed to win the team title too," explains Moceanu. "But they were peaking, a lot of them, at the Olympic team trials, and when the National Team Coordinator had gotten a hold of them, they seemed a little more banged up and tired by the time the Olympics came around, and during that team final day, they weren't able to be fully at their best... I'm so glad their personal coaches were more vocal this time around, saying, 'We need a day off for our kids.'"
She says the 2012 team should look forward to their "rock star period," the national attention they will receive in the months after the Olympics. "It changes your life. You get to meet all the screaming fans who supported you, all the kids you inspired, all the people who just shower you with the love and affection. It was such a great time because you felt so appreciated."
But in all the revelry and fanfare that will follow the team back to the United States, the team, all but one not yet legal adults, will have some tough choices to make. "It's the best time of your life, but there are also a lot of decisions [where] the parents are going to have to step in."
Despite all the hardship, Moceanu still looks at her Olympic experience warmly, particularly the national tour that followed the Atlanta Games when her and her teammates "had a sisterhood going on." Her advice to the Fab Five as they embark on their own post-Olympic journey: "You've got to live in the moment and you've got to enjoy it, because it comes and goes very quickly."
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