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US women's gymnastics team primed 'to go to Rio and just dominate'

The five members of this year's U.S. women's gymnastics team are an overwhelming favorite to bring home the gold in Rio.
/ Source: TODAY

Now that the powerhouse U.S. women's gymnastics team has been chosen, the expectations for next month's Olympics are clear.

"We're going to go to Rio and just dominate,'' returning star Gabby Douglas, 20, told Natalie Morales on TODAY after Sunday's Olympic trials in San Jose.

The Americans are the heavy favorites to repeat the feat of the "Fierce Five," which took home the team gold at the 2012 Olympics in London. The team features a mix of returning medalists and top-flight newcomers, led by reigning three-time world all-around champion Simone Biles.

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Competing in her first Olympics, Biles, 19, is the strong favorite to bring home the gold in the all-around competition, which Douglas won four years ago. At Sunday's trials, Biles took first in the all-around to punch her ticket.

"It was just a whole whirlwind of emotions,'' Biles said.

While she is expected to shine in the individual competition, the teenage phenom is most excited about the potential of the overall team, which also includes three-time medalist Aly Raisman, 22, and Olympic newcomers Laurie Hernandez, 16, and Madison Kocian, 19.

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"Team competition is always my favorite,'' Biles said. "Because once you reach your goal, you guys can always cherish that moment together. Together I think we're stronger than individually."

The U.S. squad, which has not lost an international competition in six years, will now head to a 10-day training camp in Texas before traveling to Brazil. They look to become the first U.S. women's gymnastics team to win gold in consecutive Olympics.

Earning a spot on the team was a dream come true for Hernandez, who was only 12 years old when she watched Douglas and Raisman star at the London Olympics.

"It's crazy to look back and see that I was fan-girling over like these amazing superstars back then,'' Hernandez said. "And now we can all be together on a team."

The New Jersey teen was the breakout star of the Olympic trials, which ended Sunday with her teammates swarming her in emotion after she performed the event's final routine.

"I don't get that emotional and then I look at Aly and she's in tears, and then I look at Simone and she's crying and I'm like, 'Oh my God, here they come,''' Hernandez said. "Just like a giant puddle of gymnast tears."

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Follow writer Scott Stump on Twitter.