Tag Archives: gymnasts

Meet the six women gymnasts representing the US in Tokyo

Simone Biles, Sunisa Lee, Jordan Chiles, Grace McCallum will make up the four-athlete team. Mykayla Skinner and Jade Carey will compete individually.

ST. LOUIS — Simone Biles, Sunisa Lee, Jordan Chiles, Grace McCallum and Mykayla Skinner and Jade Carey will represent the U.S in gymnastics at the Tokyo Olympic games

Biles, the reigning world and Olympic gymnastics champion locked up her spot in Tokyo by easily winning the U.S. Olympic Trials on Sunday night. The 24-year-old’s two-day total of 118.098 earned her one of two automatic spots on the plane to Japan next month, where she will try to become the first female gymnast in more than 50 years to win consecutive all-around Olympic golds.

Sunisa Lee also grabbed the other automatic bid with a 115.832 while posting the top scores on beam and uneven bars and actually putting up a higher all-around score than Biles on the night.

The rest of the team was announced later Sunday night by the selection committee. Jordan Chiles — perhaps the most consistent American in 2021, Biles included — finished third Sunday.

Grace McCallum put together four solid routines to come in fourth, three-tenths ahead of Skinner, nabbing the fourth team spot.

MyKayla Skinner, an alternate in 2016, took the specialist spot a solid effort on Friday but fought through a sluggish beam routine and stepped out of bounds twice on floor, costing her crucial tenths of a point.

Biles will arrive in Tokyo as the face of her sport, U.S. delegation and perhaps the Olympic movement. She’s become more than just a gymnastics star since her coronation in Rio in 2016. Her consistent excellence — her last second-place finish in a meet came more than nine years ago — combined with her charisma and her possibility-pushing routines have thrust her into the company of Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt, athletes whose dominance on the world stage have made them Olympic icons.

Sports stops to watch when she does her thing. And after a difficult time grappling with the postponement of the Tokyo Games to the COVID-19 pandemic, Biles appears better than ever.

Well, most of the time.

Biles was spectacular on Friday. Not so much — at least by her remarkable standards — in front of a crowd of well over 20,000 inside The Dome at America’s Center that roared every time she stepped on the podium.

She nearly stalled out on her uneven bar routine and her balance beam set was a battle from the second she began her wolf turn early in her set. Biles reached down to grab the 4-inch slab of wood at one point and shortly thereafter hopped off in disgust. She drilled her “double-double” dismount — the one named after her — before trudging to her seat in tears. Her floor routine included a big hop out of bounds after her “triple-double” opening pass. Not that anyone noticed. She walked off to a standing ovation even as she gave coach Laurent Landi a somewhat exhausted-looking smile.

She has three weeks to fume and perfect in her bid to make history.

Biles earned five medals in Rio de Janeiro. She could do the same in Tokyo. And Lee has a chance to come home with a fistful of hardware too.

Lee, the 18-year-old from Minnesota is a wonder on the uneven bars, one of a handful of gymnasts on the planet who can out-Biles Biles on the event. Her series of intricate connections — all done with a fluidity and grace that makes it look effortless — are among the most difficult in the sport. Lee dealt with an Achilles injury that led her to a sluggish start to the 2021 competition season.

Those days are over. Lee, who will be the first Hmong American at the Olympics, finished a strong runner-up to Biles at nationals earlier this month and appears to be getting stronger with each passing week.

Jade Carey of Arizona also has an Olympic berth locked up after earning a nominative pot based on her World Cup performances. Carey will compete as an individual, meaning she will not be a part of the team competition.

The Americans will be heavily favored to win their third straight Olympic title and their talent pool is so deep that the selection committee is basically just naming the score if the U.S. is anywhere close to its A-game.

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This post originally appeared on CBS8 – Sports

Here are the five gymnasts representing the US in men's gymnastics in Tokyo

Brody Malone, Yul Moldauer, Shane Wiskus and Sam Mikulak will compete in the team event while Alec Yoder will compete individually.

ST. LOUIS — Brody Malone grew up in northwest Georgia and spent part of his childhood tinkering around as a rodeo rider before finally committing full-time to gymnastics.

It’s a decision that’s carried him all the way to the Olympics.

The 20-year-old locked down a spot on the U.S. Olympic men’s gymnastics team on Saturday, earning an automatic berth on the five-man team by capturing the Olympic Trials with a two-day all-around total of 171.600.

The victory, on top of the NCAA crown the Stanford junior won in April and the national title he won earlier this month cemented Malone’s status as the leader of the men’s program heading to Japan and beyond.

Yul Moldauer, the 2017 national champion and a three-time world championship team member, is heading to Tokyo next month too after finishing runner-up to Malone while also ranking in the top three on four events.

Sam Mikulak reached his third Olympics after being named to the team by the selection committee. Shane Wiskus, who relocated from the University of Minnesota to the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Training Center last fall with an eye on reaching Tokyo, was also named.

Alec Yoder earned the “plus-one” specialist spot after two terrific pommel horse routines.

Malone, however, took his choice out of the selection committee’s hands with a confident and controlled display. He hardly seemed bothered by the stakes, improving his score on five of six events compared to Day 1. His high-bar routine is a series of daring releases in which he flings himself up and over top and appears to be ready to fall to the mat before catching the bar at the last second.

While Malone has tried to stay in the moment after ending Mikulak’s long reign at nationals, he did allow himself three exultant claps after sticking the dismount on his rings’ routine, a set that basically assured himself of a spot on the plane to Japan in three weeks.

Moldauer, dogged by back spasms at nationals, certainly looked healthy. The exuberant 24-year-old roared at the end of every event, emotion pouring out of him during each rotation.

Mikulak, vying to appear in his third Games, drilled a showstopping routine on high bar and posted the top score on floor. A fall on pommel horse — long an event that he has struggled on — will likely not affect his chances of making his third team.

The “plus-one” spot designed for a specialist may be the committee’s only tough decision, one that likely came down to Yoder, Stephen Nedoroscik and Alex Diab.

Yoder performed better on pommels than Nedoroscik over the course of two days, and his medal potential on the event is higher than Alex Diab’s potential on rings.

Brandon Briones, Cameron Bock, Akash Modi, Allan Bower and Diab will serve as the alternates.

The Americans will have their work cut out in Tokyo. The team hasn’t finished on the podium at a major international competition since the 2014 world championships and hasn’t earned a team medal at the Olympics since taking bronze in Beijing in 2008.

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This post originally appeared on CBS8 – Sports

Why the US is sending 6 women gymnasts to Olympics, not 5

There is more than one way to make it to the Olympics in gymnastics, and one member of Team USA went that route instead of relying on trials.

The U.S. will be sending five men and six women to the Tokyo Olympics in gymnastics. The reason why there will be an extra woman going is because she worked to earn her spot outside of the Olympic trials, which are happening this weekend.

Jade Carey has already qualified for Tokyo by earning an individual invite due to how she has performed in the Apparatus World Cup Series over the past three years.

The top two women at trials will earn a spot in the team competition at the Olympics. Three more spots will be selected by committee — two of whom will be added to the four-member team competition and one who will only compete in individual events.

If Carey were to finish in the top two, she would automatically be put in the team competition. But that would mean the individual spot she already earned would be forfeited and the U.S. would send just five women.

Carey appeared to confirm in an Instagram post last week that she doesn’t intend to end up in the team competition.

“I have every intention to accept the individual spot that I worked very hard to earn by competing in the Apparatus World Cup Series spanning from 2018-2020 when officially offered to me,” she wrote on June 15.

So, in simple terms:

  • Four women will be named to the team competition, but can also compete individually. Two will earn automatic berths to the team competition and two will be selected by committee.
  • One woman will named as an individual competitor by the committee, but will not be in the team competition.
  • Carey will also go as an individual competitor based on her own body of work.

Carey, who reportedly watered down some of her routines for the trials, was 14th overall after the first of two nights of competition and likely won’t make it into the top two.

At the 2016 Olympics in Rio, the team competition consisted of five gymnasts per country. That was reduced to four this year.

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This post originally appeared on CBS8 – Sports