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US women’s gymnastics begins “redemption tour” in Minneapolis.

Minneapolis hosted its first-ever U.S. Gymnastics Olympic Team Trials.
Image by Pooja Singh
Simone Biles, 27, became the oldest U.S. female gymnast on Sunday.

After two days and eight rotations, the United States Olympic women’s artistic gymnastics team was announced at the Target Center Sunday night.

Headlining the team is Simone Biles, who earned her third Olympic berth in Minneapolis. Suni Lee from St. Paul, Jordan Chiles, Hezly Rivera and Jade Carey are joining her in Paris.

The United States is sending four of the same gymnasts from the 2020 Tokyo Olympic team. The lone newcomer is Rivera. Chiles and Lee described the Paris games as a “redemption tour” after the four veterans did not perform to their liking in Tokyo. 

“We weren’t under the best circumstances,” Biles said about the team’s Tokyo performance. “We have a lot of weight on our shoulders to go out there and prove that we’re better athletes.”

Biles withdrew from the competition after battling the “twisties,” which caused her to lose her sense of direction while airborne. Biles described the feeling as being “lost in the air.” 

Lee dealt with her own setbacks after winning three medals in Tokyo. She was diagnosed with a kidney disease early last year as well as imposter syndrome which, according to the National Cancer Institute, is a term used to “describe feelings of self-doubt or inadequacy often experienced by otherwise high-achieving individuals.”

As she pursued her Paris dreams, Lee competed in her home state. But despite the overwhelming cheers her way, she still felt pressure. 

“It’s hard when you have to go up and everyone is screaming your name,” Lee said. “I love it but I get so freaked out.”

Joining Lee in her second Olympic competition is Chiles, who helped Team USA win a silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics. 

Even with the international experience under her belt, Chiles gave an emphatic “No!” when asked whether her second trials were easier than her first.  

“I can say yes when I was 19, I had somebody like Simone to guide me through that,” Chiles said. “Now I’m 23 and we are both able to guide our teammates, but it’s still stressful.” 

Carey is another competing in her second-ever Olympics. Like Chiles, she helped the team win its silver medal in Tokyo while earning herself a gold medal in the floor exercise. 

Carey was the last to compete on Sunday night at the trials. Her teammates lined the side of the competition floor mat to cheer her on. 

“They were so happy, telling me ‘good job,’ ‘congratulations,’ telling me all the hard work has paid off,” Carey said. “We are a really tight group of girls and to support each other like that at such a high-stress competition is really special.”

Rivera, 16, became the youngest 2024 Olympian in any sport as of June 30. She said she did not expect to head to Paris at her age and thought her Olympic debut would be in Los Angeles in 2028. 

“I thought this (competition) was a stepping stone for me to just get out there and do my job and see where it leads me,” Rivera said. “2028 was the goal, I was just trying to stay focused here because it’s all a part of the journey.” 

When asked about her reaction to earning a spot on Team USA, Rivera gave a wide-eyed look with her mouth wide open indicating a feeling of shock.

“That’s my reaction,” Rivera said.

Leanne Wong and Joscelyn Roberson will travel to Paris with the five athletes as alternates for the team. Roberson was the 2023 U.S. vault champion and Wong was this year’s NCAA uneven bars champion.

Competition for women’s artistic gymnastics begins in Paris on July 28 at Bercy Arena.

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