Tokyo Olympics: Meet Simone Biles and the other stars of the Team USA Gymnastics team, here are other athletes
The United States will compete in the 2021 Olympics with a gymnastics squad that includes World No 1 Simone Biles and five women, as the US Olympic Trials in St Louis on Sunday, June 27, confirmed. The superb six, according to several media outlets, are favored to rack up medals and win the team gold.
Biles and Sunisa Lee took first and second place at the St Louis trials this weekend. Jordan Chiles, who came in third place, and Grace McCallum, who came in a close fourth, were chosen by a selection committee for the final two team berths.
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After several rumors of the Olympics being canceled due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, it has been reported that Tokyo is gearing up for the games which are slated to start on Friday, 23 July, and go on till Sunday, 8 August. And while the excitement is high, here's all you need to know about the six ladies representing the United States in the gymnastics event this year.
The wait is almost over! ⌛— USA Gymnastics (@USAGym) June 27, 2021
Tune into NBC at 8 ET for the final day of #GymTrials21! After the competition, we will announce the women representing the U.S. at the Tokyo Olympics! pic.twitter.com/pj15F6GPhW
Simone Arianne Biles, 24, is the current World No 1 gymnast of American and Belizean origin from Ohio. Biles is the most decorated American gymnast and is widely considered to be the greatest and most dominant gymnast of all time, according to various news outlets like Sports Illustrated and The New Yorker. Biles has the most World medals (25) and most World gold medals (19) in gymnastics, and the female gymnast with the most World all-around titles (5). She is also the sixth woman to win an individual all-around title at both the World Championships and the Olympics, and the first gymnast since Ukrainian Lilia Podkopayeva in 1996 to hold both titles simultaneously.
Biles is the first American female gymnast to win a World medal on every event, and the first female gymnast since Daniela Silivaș in 1988 to win a medal on every event at a single Olympic Games or World Championships, having accomplished this feat at the 2018 World Championships in Doha. Now that definitely makes for a GOAT! In a Yahoo! Sports article, she stated that the federation does not want her to win by a large margin, therefore it purposely underscores her. The judges' execution score, which has a maximum of 10.0, is added to the starting score; hence, Biles' 16.100 came from adding a 9.500 execution to the 6.6 value given to her Yurchenko double pike landing- which again, she was the first woman ever to do.
Sunisa Lee is a Hmong American artistic gymnast from St Paul, Minnesota who began training as a gymnast at the age of six. The 18-year-old was a member of the gold-winning team at the 2019 World Championships, where she also placed second in the floor exercise and third on the uneven bars. During her debut year as a senior elite gymnast, she earned three medals at the USA Gymnastics National Championships, including a national title on the uneven bars, which is her dominant skill. She is coached by Jess Graba and Alison Lim.
'Suni' Lee finished second with 115.832 points in her debut appearance at a US Olympic Trials, slightly ahead of Simone Biles, who scored 118.098. Her best event was the uneven bars, where she placed first with a score of 30.200. Lee also won the US Gymnastics Championships on the bars. “This means so much to me,” Lee said in an NBC interview after the competition, according to Alabama.com. “I’ve worked so hard the last couple of years, and to go out and do everything I was supposed to do feels amazing.”
Jordan Lucella Elizabeth Chiles is an artistic gymnast from the United States who won the Pacific Rim Championships on vault and floor exercise in 2018. She was born in Tualatin, Oregon, and has been a member of the United States women's national gymnastics team since 2013. She was named after Michael Jordan.
Chiles, 20, had almost quit gymnastics before she qualified for Tokyo this year. “When I watched the 2008 Olympics, I knew I wanted to be an Olympian,” Chiles said, according to Yahoo! Sports. “But I didn’t really understand the concept of how to do that.” Chiles, who was only seven in 2008, trained hard and skipped levels six and eight and turned elite at the age of 11, but she was four months too young to compete at the 2016 Olympic Trials. She waited five more years for Tokyo. “I just wasn’t in the right mindset,” Chiles explained to NBC in May. “I didn’t know if I wanted to do gymnastics anymore… I would cry and cry and cry, and nobody knew.” However, Chiles is eyeing gold in Tokyo this year, as she placed third at the Trials on Sunday.
Grace McCallum, 18, is an artistic gymnast and a five-time member of the US women's national gymnastics team. She was first added in 2018 and went on to become the Pan American and Pacific Rim individual all-around champion that year. She also became the 2018 Pan American uneven bars champion and was a member of the US gymnastics team that won gold at the 2018 and 2019 World Championships and the 2018 Pan American Championships.
McCallum, a native of Isanti, Minnesota, was a member of the United States National Team in 2018 and 2019, and despite suffering surgery earlier this year, she continued to improve in the months leading up to and during the Olympic Trials. She improved her first-day marks on vault and bars to move up to fourth place in the all-around, securing an Olympic berth.
The US Olympic Committee will also send two individual competitors- Jade Carey and MyKayla Skinner. Because of her performance in the Apparatus World Cup Series over the past three years, Carey, best known for her powerful and high-difficulty exercises on vault and floor exercise, has already qualified for Tokyo. So, the 21-year-old Phoenix native who earned her spot outside the Olympic trials will be representing the United States as an individual competitor.
On Sunday, Carey competed just on bars and beam, having qualified for the Olympics as an individual in February 2020. Due to an apparent leg or ankle ailment, she was unable to compete in her best events (vaulting and floor), according to Yahoo! Sports.
MyKayla Brooke Skinner Harmer, 24, was named as the plus-one specialist for the Tokyo Olympics after the Trials this year at St Louis this year. After finishing fourth in the all-around at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, Skinner was named an Olympic alternate. After three years of college gymnastics at Utah, she returned to the world elite level and was an alternate for the 2019 World Championships.
Skinner's all-around score on Sunday was 55.666, about a point lower than on Friday (56.598), June 25. On vaulting and uneven bars, she scored higher, while on balance beam and floor exercise, she scored lower. Her two-day score of 112.264 was.300 behind McCallum, with the two reversing positions from Friday. Skinner finished second behind Biles on vault, seventh on beam and floor, and ninth on bars.