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For the first time at the US Gymnastics Championships, three Black women, senior gymnasts swept the competition and made history. Konnor McClain (112.750), Shilese Jones (112.000), and 2021 Tokyo Olympic silver medalist Jordan Chiles (111.900) have collectively broken a barrier, etching their names into the history books.
Earlier this year McClain, Skye Blakely, and eMjae Frazier by sweeping Winter Cup. Let’s just say it’s a great age for Black Girl Magic and Black women in a sport that was once inaccessible to Black Gymnasts.
On day one of the competition at the Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida, over this past weekend, it was Shilese Jones from Ascend Gymnastics, off Auburn, Washington, who led the pack. But on the second day of competition, a fall on beam and an uncharacteristic fall on her best event, the uneven bars, cost the athlete two full points making room for McClain from WOGA of Plano, Texas, to claim the meet’s biggest prize all-around title.
Kayla DiCello finished fourth with a score of 110.950 for Hill’s Gymnastics and is coached by 1996 Olympic Gold Medalist Dominique Dawes’ coach Kelli Hill. Hill says after DiCello, she’s retiring. Dawes has spoken about the barries she faced as a young Black gymnast in the sport.
2021 Olympic Gold Medalist Jade Carey, finished with 110.900.
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Another notably rising star making a comeback after an injury at the 2021 US Olympic Trials is Skye Blakely, who hit four for four and made the U.S. National Team.
The Senior Women’s National Team for 2022-23 was announced at the conclusion of the US Gymnastics Championship. The athletes are listed alphabetically below.
- Skye Blakely, Frisco, Texas/WOGA Gymnastics
- Jade Carey, Phoenix, Ariz./Oregon State University
- Jordan Chiles, Spring, Texas/World Champions Centre
- Kayla DiCello, Boyds, Md./Hill’s Gymnastics
- Shilese Jones, Auburn, Wash./Ascend Gymnastics Center
- Konnor McClain, Las Vegas, Nev./WOGA Gymnastics
- Elle Mueller, Ham Lake, Minn./Twin City Twisters
- Lexi Zeiss, Omaha, Neb./Twin City Twisters
USA Gymnastics says, there may be additional gymnasts added.
The team now heads to a training camp to prepare for 2022 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships, in Liverpool, United Kingdom this fall (October 29 – November 6, 2022).