It’s undeniable that the United States’ women’s gymnastics team is one of the most elite in the world. This year’s team, which consists of Simone Biles, Sunisa Lee, Jordan Chiles, Grace McCallum, MyKayla Skinner and Jade Carey, is no different.
The 2021 Tokyo Olympics will be the first Olympic Games to have individual specialists for gymnastics. This will allow smaller countries, who can’t fill an entire team of gymnasts, to participate.
Skinner and Carey will represent the United States in the newly formed individual apparatus events. This means that the US will have a four-member team competing together as well as two specialists who will participate in events individually.
Skinner and Carey both specialize in the floor exercise and the vault. Skinner won bronze in the vault event at the 2014 Worlds competition and Carey won gold medals at three Gymnastics World Cups in the vault. Carey also claimed world championship medals in the floor exercise.
Carey was put in a difficult position while attempting to make this year’s women’s Olympic team. She had secured enough points to compete as one of the new individual gymnasts, but the USAG let Carey decide if she wanted to take the individual spot or try for a spot on the team. (Athletes who participate in the individual events cannot participate in the team events.) She decided to take the individual spot, which allowed the United States to bring a six-women team instead of five.
In order to qualify for the Olympic team, gymnasts must perform at least 20 skills during the preliminaries of the three selection events. For women, a difficulty degree of 12.8 is required.
With so many talented gymnasts in the United States, qualifying for the Olympic team is often said to be just as difficult as winning a medal at the games.
The last two women’s gymnastics teams to represent the United States in the Olympics have won gold medals. The last four gold medalists in the all-around event, which includes the beam, bars, floor and vault, have also been from the US.
Simone Biles, the reigning Olympic champion and face of gymnastics in the United States, hopes to continue her success in Tokyo after qualifying for her second Olympic games at the age of 24. Biles consistently pushes the sport of gymnastics further as she expands her repertoire of skills and routines that amaze judges and spectators worldwide.
Both Biles and Lee were guaranteed spots on the Olympic team after receiving the top two scores during trials. Chiles was named to the team by a USA gymnastics committee.
The six women gymnasts heading to Tokyo to represent the United States are looking to dominate the gym and bring home an abundance of gold medals. These women are some of the best gymnasts in the world, so expect to see them fiercely competing and giving it everything they have.
Make sure you tune in to the Olympics on July 23rd, airing on NBC and streaming online.