elevationminds

Simone Biles, Jordan Chiles, Suni Lee and more compete for Olympic spots

Wong dazzles on floor

A natural performer on the floor exercise, Leanne Wong synthesized elegant dance and clean tumbling in the third rotation. Hezly Rivera may have bested her on beam, but Wong did not let that rattle her.

She raised her score by half a point from Day 1, scoring a 13.625.

Rivera is unshakeable on beam

Despite watching Lee have a rough go on the beam, Hezly Rivera nailed her routine.

The selection committee is seated directly in front of the beam and had to have been impressed by Rivera’s stability under pressure. She is now two-for-two on her most important routines of the night.

Tiana Sumanasekera will aim to beat Rivera’s 14.275 on beam in the next rotation, but it will be a tall order.

Full circle moment for Roberson, Biles

Reporting from Minneapolis

In April 2015, Simone Biles shared a viral video of a tiny young gymnast doing a “perfect” standing back flip with a full twist.

“im in awe,” Biles wrote, adding “some1 help me find this cutie. I wanna meet her, so she could teach me a thing or two.”

That 9-year-old pint-sized powerhouse was none other than Jocelyn Roberson, who now trains alongside the GOAT at World Champions Centre.

Tonight, 18-year-old Roberson has a shot to become her 2024 Paris Olympics teammate, too.

Roberson also made her idol Biles the subject of an elementary school project — perhaps someday, she’ll be on her own trifold poster board.

Rare mistakes from Lee on beam

Lee had the highest beam score Friday but will not continue that trajectory after an uncharacteristically poor showing on the beam.

Her leaps were stunning, as usual, but she fell on her first skill, the mount. She also had other large wobbles and earned a 12.825, nearly two points below her score on Day 1.

She is still in good standing at third in the all-around despite the mistakes.

Suni Lee stumbles while competing on the balance beam.
Suni Lee stumbles while competing on the balance beam Sunday.Elsa / Getty Images

Biles is efficient on bars

Bars is not Biles’ best event, but she is still a world medalist on the apparatus.

That is partially because her routine is very well-constructed. She is able to minimize deductions by performing as few skills as possible. The ones she does perform she performs exceedingly well, hitting every handstand as close to 180 degrees as possible.

Key routines to come

Biles started her night on the vault, where she performed her Yurchenko double pike for a 15.500.

Tiana Sumanasekera, Joscelyn Roberson, Jordan Chiles and more — Biles’ training mates at World Champions Centre, the gym her family owns in Spring, Texas — will proceed in what is called “Olympic order,” or vault, bars, beam, then floor.

Hezly Rivera and Leanne Wong, who are among a handful of gymnasts competing for the fifth and final spot on the Olympic team, started on bars and will end on vault. Their showdown could have major implications for selection.

Wong performs her best beam of the year

Under the highest pressure of her gymnastics career, Wong hit a clutch beam routine. There was only one visible balance check, and she connected her skills fluidly.

Wong is the most experienced contender in comparison with Tiana Sumanasekera, Joscelyn Roberson and Hezly Rivera. That appeared to pay off on this event, and she scored a 13.650, her best score of the entire year.

Leanne Wong reacts after finishing her routine on the balance beam
Leanne Wong reacts after finishing her routine on the balance beam Sunday.Elsa / Getty Images

USA Gymnastics leadership reeling after string of injuries

Heartbreak is par for the course at the U.S. Olympic trials, but athletes aren’t the only ones with broken dreams. Even USA Gymnastics leadership is reeling after three of the five front-runners for the Olympic team went down with injuries in the past week.

Chellsie Memmel, a 2008 Olympic medalist and technical lead for the U.S. women’s team, told NBC News yesterday that it has “not been a fun week.”

“It’s obviously very challenging from the perspective of putting the team together,” Memmel said. “It’s really hard to separate and take the emotion out of it, because it’s just hard to watch, but we have to put together the strongest team that we can put forward, and that’s what we’re going to do.”

Memmel dealt with plenty of ill-timed injuries herself, having missed the 2004 Olympics because of a foot injury. At the 2008 Olympics, she was limited to competing on the uneven bars after she broke her ankle in Beijing.

Olympic dreams could be made or broken on beam

The fifth spot of the Paris Olympic team is likely to come down to the balance beam tonight.

On a hypothetical team of Biles, Chiles, Lee and Carey, the U.S. women will be looking for support from another strong beam worker.

A fall on beam tonight from Hezly Rivera, Tiana Sumanasekera, Leanne Wong or Joscelyn Roberson could knock them out of Olympic contention; hit routines could punch their tickets to Paris.

Biles’ coach wants her to ‘just do her normal’

After a shaky outing on the balance beam on Day 1, Biles’ coach, Laurent Landi, told her to “just do her normal” going into the second half of the competition tonight.

“I don’t want her to do better, just do her normal. That’s all,” Landi told reporters Friday. “Stuff will happen, mistakes will happen, it’s part of gymnastics. I don’t think there is anybody that didn’t make a tiny mistake today. I mean, it’s trials. They are trying to make the Olympic team; it’s supposed to be stressful.”

Carey’s leg days pay off with impressive save

Carey also performed two vaults, a Cheng and an Amanar, which could hold as the highest vault scores of the night behind Biles.

She landed the Amanar (a Yurchenko with a 2½ twist) a bit low and a had to fight to stay on her feet, but her legs of steel pulled it off.

A bars master class from Lee

After Jones went down with an injury, Suni Lee is without a doubt the best bars worker in the country.

She showed the highest difficulty on bars in this trials field, earning a 14.875.

Chiles can work a crowd

Ahead of two gorgeous vaults, Jordan Chiles rallied the crowd to clap to the music in the arena. Even as she competes for a return to the Olympics, she is all smiles and relaxed energy.

Wong could finally become an Olympian tonight

Leanne Wong was an Olympic alternate in 2021 and was a member of every subsequent world championship team. Tonight, her Olympic dreams could finally become a reality, but she’ll have to outscore some young up-and-comers.

She started her night on the uneven bars, where she scored a 13.900. That’s still a good score, but four-tenths lower than Rivera. She’ll want to close some of that lead if she wants to stay in contention.

Leanne Wong
Leanne Wong competes on the uneven bars on Sunday.Charlie Riedel / AP

Paris potential by the numbers

As part of its deliberations, the selection committee will consider scores from these trials, as well as other major competitions this season.

Using average scores from the Core Hydration Classic, the U.S. Gymnastics Championships and Day 1 of the U.S. Olympic trials, the highest-scoring potential team in an Olympic Team Final scenario would be Biles, Jordan Chiles, Suni Lee, Jade Carey and Kaliya Lincoln with a 172.820.

However, these statistics do not account for certain aspects of selection, like balancing the strengths and weaknesses of an Olympic team. Lincoln’s and Carey’s strengths are the same (vault and floor), and their weaknesses (beam and bars) are identical, with Carey having an edge as a medal threat on vault.

The U.S. might consider athletes who are stronger on events like the balance beam but can also fill in on other events in a pinch.

Roberson answers Rivera’s strong start

Joscelyn Roberson, a teammate of Biles’ who is also in the mix for the fifth Olympic spot, performed two vaults. To earn an Olympic vault medal, gymnasts much show two contrasting vaults with different entry styles. She earned a 14.500 for the first vault, which is the one that will count toward her all-around score.

The U.S. already has strong vaulters who score higher than she does, but it’s a great start for Roberson.

2024 U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Gymnastics - Day 4
Joscelyn Roberson practices her floor exercise before the final day of the U.S. Olympic gymnastics trials in Minneapolis on Sunday.Elsa / Getty Images

Jordan Chiles: ‘We still have a job to do’

Tokyo Olympian Jordan Chiles had a “rough practice” ahead of Day 1, but everything came together when she donned her competition leotard and finished second in the all-around to Biles.

“At the end of the day, we can’t control what is happening,” Chiles said of Friday’s injuries. “We can be stressed and we can be concerned, but we also have to understand that we still have a job to do.”

In anxious moments, Chiles draws on a sage piece of advice from her mother, Gina.

“Every room you walk into, just be the best Jordan you can be,” Chiles said, quoting her mother. “Whether it’s a mall, whether it’s a grocery store, whether it’s the biggest stage on Earth, I just put myself out there and just am authentic to who I am. … I’m always going to shine brighter and just vibe with it.”

Rivera goes 14.300 on bars

One of the most important routines of the night came early in the competition.

With an Olympic spot on the line, Hezly Rivera hit a clean set on bars, earning a huge 14.300. All her routines will matter here, but beam will be especially decisive.

Hezly Rivera competes on the uneven bars at the U.S. Gymnastics Trials on Sunday.
Hezly Rivera competes on the uneven bars at the U.S. Gymnastics Trials on Sunday.Abbie Parr / AP

How to tune into the women’s U.S. Gymnastics Trials

Tune into the final night of the trials, where the women’s team for Paris will be determined, at 8:10 p.m. ET on Peacock and 8:30 p.m. ET on NBC.

Olympic hopefuls take the floor

The athletes competing for Olympic spots tonight were announced one by one as they entered the arena.

Biles and Minnesota-native Suni Lee received particularly earsplitting cheers from the crowd.

‘Let the games begin’

As the lights dimmed in the Target Center ahead of the U.S. Olympic gymnastics trials, “…Ready For It?” by Taylor Swift was played.

Biles will tumble to the song tonight in her quest to clinch her third Olympic berth.

“Baby, let the games begin,” as the song goes.

Gymnastics scoring 101

For many years, understanding gymnastics was pretty simple — falls are bad, and a 10 is the best score! Some of the old rules still stand, but scoring in the sport is more complicated than it was in past decades.

Here’s everything to know about modern scoring in gymnastics so you can watch Biles and the rest of Team USA contend for Olympic glory with an expert eye.

Read the full story here.

It’s Pride weekend in Gymnastics City

Hundreds of thousands of people descended on downtown Minneapolis this weekend for both the U.S. Olympic gymnastics trials and the annual Twin Cities Pride.

“I’m proud to proclaim Gymnastics City USA Week in Minnesota as our state hosts the gymnastics Olympic trials for the first time,” Gov. Tim Walz said ahead of the trials.

The festivities included a parade, which passed by the Target Center, where the trials are being held, a few hours ago.

Twin Cities Pride was first held in 1972 and has since grown into one of the largest Pride celebrations in the country, with 600,000 estimated to attend, according to organizers.

Taylor Swift: Biles’ biggest fan?

Biles is ready for it.

Biles chose to execute some of her most impressive tricks to the intro track of Taylor Swift’s “Reputation” album — “…Ready For It?” — which is featured in Biles’ U.S. gymnastics trials floor routine. Yesterday, Swift showed her support for the GOAT.

In response to a video of Biles’ that NBC Olympics and Paralympics posted to X, Swift replied that she has “[w]atched this so many times and still unready.”

“She’s ready for it tho,” Swift added, referring to Biles.

The Tokyo Olympians and who?

Based on Friday’s results, the four returning Tokyo Olympians appear primed to return to the Games. The big question tonight is: Who will join them in Paris?

A week ago, the younger, greener athletes in this trials field had next to no shot at making this Olympic team. After a wave of injuries tore through the top American contenders, they are no longer dark horses, and they now find themselves at or near the top of the standings.

With their Olympic dreams abruptly within reach, it will be interesting to see how Hezly Rivera and Tiana Sumanasekera, both 16, respond to the spotlight.

Sneak peek of tonight’s looks from gymnastics’ biggest stars

Reporting from Minneapolis

The women of USA Gymnastics are READY, sharing a glimpse of their looks for the final night of Olympic trials on social media.

Biles and Jade Carey posted selfies to social media in their matching GK Elite leotards for the trials tonight.

The women’s field — now down to 13 contenders after three injury withdrawals — is split into two squads, with each group of gymnasts switching its leotard styles for days one and two of competition.

Gabby Douglas ‘heartbroken’ for Jones after injury forces withdrawal

After an ankle injury intercepted her own historic comeback this season, three-time Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas weighed in on Jones’ withdrawal from the trials.

“I’m completely heartbroken,” Douglas said on Instagram.

“No one deserved it more,” she said, referring to Jones’ securing a spot on the Olympic team.

The two gymnasts trained together at Buckeye Gymnastics in Westerville, Ohio, while Douglas geared up for the 2016 Rio Olympics, but both have since moved to other gyms.

Simone Biles leads going into tonight’s final

Simone Biles is four routines away from making her third Olympic team.

She led her Olympic and club teammate Jordan Chiles by 2.5 points after the first day of competition at the Olympic trials. Reigning Olympic all-around champion Suni Lee rounded out the top three.

Read the full story here.

Meet the men representing the U.S. in Paris

The men’s team was named at the U.S. Olympic gymnastics trials in Minneapolis yesterday: Frederick Richard, Brody Malone, Paul Juda, Asher Hong and Stephen Nedoroscik are going to Paris.

The alternates are Shane Wiskus and Khoi Young. They barely missed the official team but are still considered Olympians by the U.S. Olympic Committee.

“We have a chance to win a medal, and that’s what we’re going to do,” Malone said after yesterday’s final.

Read the full story here.

Jones will miss Paris Olympics after injury

Nobody pictured Paris without Shilese Jones.

USA Gymnastics announced yesterday that, after evaluation, Jones will not be compete in the trials today, slashing her hopes of making the Paris team.

Jones, 21, was a near-lock for the Olympic team after having won six world championship medals in the past two years.

Warming up on the vault at Friday’s trials, Jones landed short and immediately cradled her knee.

Read the full story here.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.