Six women earned their place to represent the U.S.A. during the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games — Simone Biles, Sunisa “Suni” Lee, Jordan Chiles, Grace McCallum, MyKayla Skinner and Jade Carey. The structure of a four-person team and two “specialists” for individual events is a brand new concept for the Tokyo games. These athletes have worked their entire lives to reach this point in their career, and the heights and ages of each lady may surprise you.
Simone, 24, is perhaps the most notable name on the list with a combined total of 30 Olympic and World Championship medals. The athlete, who hails from Spring, Texas, is bringing new and daring moves to Tokyo this year.
At the U.S. Classic competition in Indianapolis, the gymnast successfully did a Yurchenko double pike on the vault, which only men have performed at the Olympics in the past. She also pulled off a double-twisting double flip dismount on the beam and a gravity-defying triple-twisting double flip on floor.
The Courage to Soar author planned on ending her career at the Olympics last summer before retiring. However, when the games were postponed to July 2021 amid the coronavirus pandemic, Simone decided to train for another year. “I didn’t come this far to only come this far,” she said during 60 Minutes.
A major success story comes from Jordan, 20. After winning 2nd place at the national championship’s all-around competition in 2017, she was devastated when she was not selected to compete at the world championships. “I didn’t think the sport wanted me anymore … So I went in the opposite direction,” she explained about that time in her career.
Falling back on her strict regime, another big blow came to her career when she placed 11th at the 2018 nationals. Just as she was ready to walk away from gymnastics for good, Simone suggested Jordan relocate to Texas to train at her gym with her coaches, Cecile and Laurent Landi. Days after finishing high school in Vancouver, Washington, where she got to participate in prom and graduation, she promptly relocated to the Lone Star state to begin her new training.
As for Sunisa, 18, she is considered one of the strongest athletes on the uneven bars with an extremely difficult routine. However, she’s had a tough road to Tokyo. Besides recovering from a broken foot, the gymnast, who hails from St. Paul, Minnesota, has suffered a lot of devastation in her family.
In 2019, her father was paralyzed after falling while helping a friend trim a tree. The following year, she lost an aunt and uncle to COVID-19. “This means so much to me. I’ve worked so hard for the past couple of years,” the teen said after making the Olympic team.
She is not the only one battling through injury, however. Grace, 18, broke her hand in January while training on the beam, needing a plate and seven screws to stabilize the bones.
MyKayla, 24, and Jade, 21, were extremely close to making the team of four, but they will be competing in individual events. The International Gymnastics Federation added the two individual spots to allow smaller countries who could not put together an entire team the opportunity to participate.
See the heights of each U.S. gymnast below!
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