The Tokyo Olympic trials are in full swing, and we’re all, yet again, captivated by Simone Biles and the 2021 women’s gymnastics team. Typically, when choosing the final team for the actual Olympic Games, the athletes participate in trials to determine their spot.
However, things were a little different for Team USA this year due to one athlete qualifying individually for a spot before the trials even began. So, what does it mean when an athlete gets an individual spot on the Olympic team? We have the explanation below!
The U.S. women's Olympic gymnastics team is chosen by competition and committee selection.
Traditionally, the top two women competing at the initial Olympic trials earn a spot on the team for the Olympic Games. Three more spots are selected by a committee. Two of those three will be added to the four-member team competition and one will only compete in individual events.
This means that five women would head to Tokyo to compete. However this year, there’s been a switch-up.
Jade Carey worked to earn her spot outside of the Olympic trials.
The U.S. will be sending six women to the Tokyo Olympics as part of their gymnastics team. Yup, there is an extra woman going to the Olympic Games. The 21-year-old Jade Carey will compete in an individual spot as opposed to as a member of the four-person team, which competes in team events together. Carey will only compete in individual events.
According to CBS8, she already qualified for the Tokyo Summer Games by earning an individual spot due to how she has performed in the Apparatus World Cup Series over the past three years. "I have every intention to accept the individual spot that I worked very hard to earn by competing in the Apparatus World Cup Series spanning from 2018-2020 when officially offered to me," she wrote on Instagram.
She continued, “My focus right now is preparing to compete at the Olympic Games in Tokyo and being able to contribute to Team USA in any way possible. Thank you for your continued support.”
Jade’s decision was fully supported by her fellow U.S. gymnasts.
If Jade Carey had gone back on her decision to compete individually, another talented and prospective gymnast would not have been able to make it to Tokyo. “Because her individual spot is nominative, meaning it is hers and hers alone, another American would have been left behind had Carey been part of the four-person U.S. team,” USA Today reported.
Confirmed member of the U.S. team, Grace McCallum, praised Jade for her decision. “I couldn’t be more proud of you!” she commented on the post. “You have worked so hard for this! I can’t wait to watch you shine!! You are AMAZING!!!”
Jade also has found friendship with all-around gold medalist, Simone Biles, and looks up to her as an inspiration. "She definitely just reminds us to have fun and she's just really awesome," Jade told People. "Like we know that we can go to her for anything because she's been there and she's done it all so she knows exactly how everything goes."