From Trials to Tokyo: Meet the Women Flipping Overseas at This Summer's Olympic Games
After two nights of competition at the 2021 US Olympic Trials, the four-person women's artistic gymnastics team, two individuals, and four alternates were named ahead of the Tokyo Games. If you have questions about how it all went down (we know it sounds a bit confusing), we've got you covered. Despite past years of five-plus gymnasts on Olympic teams, this year's squad — and this year's squad only — consists of four gymnasts who will aim to win the United States's third consecutive Olympic team gold.
First, there's Simone Biles, whose two-night all-around score of 118.098 was over two points above the next highest all-around finish despite a fall on beam on June 27. Are we surprised she made it? Not in the slightest. She wasn't accompanied by Goldie the billy goat on her leotard this time around, though Goldie did make an appearance on Biles's slides. The three other gymnasts are Sunisa ("Suni") Lee, who placed second in the all-around at Trials and automatically earned a team spot; Jordan Chiles, who finished third and is Biles's World Champions Centre teammate; and Grace McCallum, who finished fourth.
Jade Carey qualified as an individual due to her results at the FIG Apparatus World Cup series, and the US women were allotted one other individual spot that the selection committee granted to MyKayla Skinner. Carey and Skinner will not be competing on the US Olympic team, but their efforts could still count toward the United States's medal tally at the Games should they qualify for the all-around or event finals (note: only two gymnasts per country, whether gymnasts compete on the team or as individuals, can qualify for each of those finals). Four alternates were chosen out of an abundance of caution in the event that anyone on the team — Biles, Lee, Chiles, or McCallum — is exposed to the COVID-19 virus.
The gymnasts selected for the team are, generally speaking, reliable on every event — vault, bars, beam, and floor — even if they do have their strengths on specific apparatuses. While Carey and Skinner have proven themselves to be solid competitors across the board, Carey's specialties on vault and floor will serve well for the US in her individual spot, and Skinner's standout performances on vault especially are ones to watch at the Olympics.
We can't wait to witness the excitement overseas in less than a month! Ahead, check out more about each of these women going to Tokyo after a trying postponement period and years of preparation.
To learn more about all the Olympic hopefuls, visit TeamUSA.org. The Tokyo Olympics begin July 23 on NBC.
US Women's Olympic Gymnastics Team Spot: Simone Biles
Biles, 24, needs no introduction, and she clinched her spot on the Olympic team by winning first in the all-around at Trials. She has won every all-around competition she's entered since 2013 and is the most decorated gymnast in World Championship history. She has a record seven national all-around titles, and if she wins four medals of any kind at Tokyo, she will lock in her place as the gymnast with the most combined World Championship and Olympic medals ever. This will be her second Games.
US Women's Olympic Gymnastics Team Spot: Suni Lee
Lee, who secured her Olympic team spot by finishing second in the all-around at Trials, most recently became the national bar champion this year and came in second place in the all-around and beam at Nationals behind Biles. She represented the US at the 2019 World Championships, where she won gold in the team final, silver in the floor final, and bronze in the bars final. The 18-year-old is committed to Auburn University.
US Women's Olympic Gymnastics Team Spot: Jordan Chiles
Chiles, 20, moved to World Champions Centre (WCC), the gym owned by Biles's parents, in June 2019. She won the all-around at the 2021 Winter Cup in February and came in second overall at the GK US Classic behind Biles. She also claimed the national all-around bronze medal and the national vault bronze medal. Before her move to WCC, she was the 2018 Pacific Rim Championships team, vault, and floor champion.
Chiles, who is committed to UCLA, told POPSUGAR earlier this year, "Training under Laurent [Landi] and Cecile [Canqueteau-Landi] definitely has changed my whole mindset, my whole attitude, and how I look forward to being in the gym these days. Being able to have coaches who truly understand me and what I've gone through and what I want in my career is something that I was really, really happy about."
US Women's Olympic Gymnastics Team Spot: Grace McCallum
McCallum most recently claimed the bronze medal on beam at the 2021 US Gymnastics Championships. Her all-around record is solid with a fourth-place finish in this year's GK US Classic and a third-place finish at 2019 Nationals. The 18-year-old world team champion is a future gymnast at the University of Utah.
Individual US Olympic Gymnastics Spot: Jade Carey
In April, Carey clinched an Olympic individual spot by participating in the Apparatus World Cup Series that spanned from 2018 through 2021. The 21-year-old is a two-time world silver medalist on vault (2017 and 2019), which she told POPSUGAR last fall is her favorite event, and she's the 2017 world silver medalist on floor; these two events are her strong suits. She also won team gold at the 2019 World Championships, and she's committed to Oregon State University.
Individual US Olympic Gymnastics Spot: MyKayla Skinner
Skinner, 24, was an alternate at the Rio Games and deferred her senior year at the University of Utah to contend for a spot on the Olympic team. She was also an alternate for the 2015 and 2019 World Championship teams. This year, she was the national silver medalist on vault.
US Women's Olympic Gymnastics Team Alternate: Leanne Wong
Wong, committed to the University of Florida, landed in third place on floor at the 2021 US Gymnastics Championships. The 17-year-old represented the US at the Pan American Games in 2019 and won a team gold medal while doing so. That same year, she won a bronze medal at Nationals for her performances on beam.
US Women's Olympic Gymnastics Team Alternate: Kayla DiCello
DiCello, 17, is committed to the University of Florida for gymnastics. She is the 2021 national floor silver medalist, and she received first place on bars and third place for her all-around and floor performances at the 2021 GK US Classic.
US Women's Olympic Gymnastics Team Alternate: Kara Eaker
Eaker was a member of the gold-medal-winning 2018 and 2019 World Championship teams. The 18-year-old is committed to the University of Utah. She also is the 2018 and 2019 national silver medalist on beam.
US Women's Olympic Gymnastics Team Alternate: Emma Malabuyo
Malabuyo was fourth in the all-around at the 2021 US Gymnastics Championships. The 18-year-old is another UCLA commit.