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Black Girl Magic Heads to US Gymnastics Olympic Team Trials

by The Black Wall Street Times
Jordan Chiles, Simone Biles, Amari Drayton, Shilese Jones, Skye Blakely, and Zoe Miller | Photo courtesy of USA Gymnastics

Jordan Chiles, Simone Biles, Amari Drayton, Shilese Jones, Skye Blakely, and Zoe Miller | Photo courtesy of USA Gymnastics

GREENWOOD, Okla. — For the first time in American history, Black excellence will be well represented in the U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Team Trials. Once stigmatized as not having the right body type for the sport, six Black athletes, among 18 talented women competitors, will vie for one of four spots to represent Team USA in Tokyo, Japan. 

Who’s Competing in the US Olympic Trials?

2016 Olympic Champion Simone Biles, 24, the world’s most decorated gymnast, is a lock for Tokyo, winning her 7th National title early this month at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships in Fort Worth, Texas. 

Biles’ club teammate, Jordan Chiles, 20, is sure to be selected if she delivers another solid performance at the Trials. Chiles will come into the Team Trails ranking 3rd in the nation at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships and 1st at Winter Cup. Hence, she’s been consistent in the last two major competitions.

Amari Drayton, 17, and Zoe Miller, 16, Biles’ and Chiles’ teammates at World Champions Centre in Spring, Texas, have also qualified for the U.S. Olympic trials. 

Shilese Jones, 18, who helped the US win team gold at the 2018 Pan American Games, sealed her spot in the team trials with a perfect vault at Championships. 

Skye Blakely, 16, initially had her eyes set on the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris, France. Had the Olympic trials happened in 2020, Blakely wouldn’t have been in the mix because of age requirements. Gymnasts must be 16 to qualify and compete at the senior elite level. However, due to the global pandemic delaying the 2020 Summer Games by a year, Skye competed at the National Championship as a senior elite gymnast and qualified for Trials. She and the others are now heading to the U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Team trials in St. Louis, Missouri, held June 24-27, 2021.

How the US Olympic Gymnastics Team is Selected

The top two competitors at Trials earn guaranteed spots on team U.S.A. Biles is most likely to earn the top spot; she hasn’t lost an all-around competition since 2013, leaving three possible spots for the other 18 competitors. A committee will select the 3rd and 4th spots. 

An additional two spots are open for specialists, individuals who would only compete on one of the four apparatuses: bars, beam, floor, or vault. Jade Carey, another amazingly talented US gymnast, has clinched her spot on vault; however, should she choose to surrender her place for a team position, two gymnasts who don’t make the top four may be selected as specialists.

10 comments

Kim Singletary June 13, 2021 - 9:15 am

Love what you are doing. Thank you.

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Cassandre Joseph June 13, 2021 - 4:06 pm

Thank you for bringing this to media attention! Unprecedented and deserves so much more!!

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Tell Me Something Good: This week's good news - THAT'S WHAT SHE SAID NL June 13, 2021 - 4:55 pm

[…] course (!!!), we couldn’t possibly not mention this incredibly awesome Black Girl Magic moment! Six young black athletes, once criticized for not having the right body types to participate in gymnastics, are set to be […]

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cajyas June 13, 2021 - 6:47 pm

Correction: if Jade Carey gets a team spot and surrenders her individual spot, that spot will be lost to the USA. It isn’t the USA’s spot, it’s Jade’s, and if she discards it to be on the team, only one additional individual gymnast will be chosen (so basically Jade will be stealing the 6th spot from the US).

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cajyas June 13, 2021 - 6:52 pm

Need to make a correction… If Jade gives up her individual spot, it’s gone and the USA only has one individual spot. (So basically if Jade gets on the team and gives up her individual spot, she’s stealing the 6th gymnast’s spot who would’ve gotten to go to the Olympics).

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‘This Moment Speaks Volumes’: Fans Praise Simone Biles for Kind Gesture Toward Younger Gymnast – EWC Communication June 14, 2021 - 2:32 pm

[…] and Miller also make up two of the six Black gymnasts, and 18 total, competing for one of the four slots available on Team USA. Joining the pair in the […]

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Biles and Chiles Rock Night One at US Olympic Trials June 25, 2021 - 11:06 pm

[…] and Biles, both teammates at the World Champion Centre gymnastics academy in Spring, Texas, are now primed to make it to Tokyo to pursue Olympic […]

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