For the last two decades USA gymnastics has been extremely dominant. From receiving the bronze in the 2000 Australia Olympics, to winning silver in the most recent Olympics, the USA gymnastics team continues to be a major competitor. Since the 2004 Olympic games, an individual from team USA has won the gold in the individual competition, while remaining on the podium as a team.
With only six spots available (previously more), gymnast vie for the Olympics their entire life. Even Simone Biles, the most decorated gymnast, started off young. According to www.essentiallysports.com, she started gymnastics at the age of six. Since the beginning of her career, she has gone on to star in two Olympic games, winning seven medals, four of which are gold.
Although Simone Biles grew to create a major career most gymnast start a much younger age. Anastasia (Nastia) Liukin started at the raw age of three. Although most Olympic gymnast retire, and few return to the Olympics once more, college gymnastics is another option for these professional athletes.
Many elite (top gymnast) decide to compete in the NCAA depending on the direction of their career, however, unlike before a lot the young athletes of the Tokyo Games team have decided to continue their career at the collegiate level, with one even leaving the collegiate level for the international competition.
Jordan Chiles, who trained alongside Biles, currently competes for the UCLA Bruins where she consistently earns high scores for the team. Prior to Chiles’s arrival, UCLA was home to many other Olympic champions. Kyla Ross, who won team gold with the 2012 Olympic team dubbed the Fierce Five, is the first female gymnast to ever win Olympic, World, and NCAA championships, according to her bio on www.uclabruins.com. Her Bruin teammate, Madison Kocian, won with the 2016 team at the Rio de Janerio, Brazil games.
Grace McCallum of Cambridge, Minnesota, is another Olympian turned collegiate gymnast. Following the Olympics she began competing for the University of Utah, where her Olympic teammate, Mykayla Skinner formerly competed and won individual NCAA event titles. Numerous former elite gymnasts, such as Maile O’Keefe and Tokyo games alternate Kara Eaker, compete for the Utes as well.
Like Mykayla Skinner, Jade Carey earned her ticket to the Olympics as an individual athlete, meaning that although she represented team USA she did not contribute to the country’s overall score. The athlete did not disappoint and clinched the gold medal on the floor exercise, beating Italy’s Vanessa Ferrari, and Mai Murakami of Japan. She continued her gymnastics success at Oregon State University where she was named Pac 12 freshman of the week six times and scored perfect 10’s on numerous occasions.
Sunisa Lee shocked the nation when she won gold in the individual all-around after Simone Biles’s sudden departure. The 19-year-old from Saint Paul, Minnesota, contributed to the team’s silver medal and even clinched an additional medal on the uneven bars. The same year she won one of the most coveted medals in Women’s Gymnastics, she began competing for the Tigers of Auburn University. She helped her team advance to the NCAA Championships where she ultimately won the beam title.
Many other notable names in collegiate gymnastics are former elite gymnast. Trinity Thomas of the University of Florida Gators is a former U.S. national team member and even competed for the country internationally. Her gator teammate, Morgan Hurd is the 2017 world all-around champion and balance beam silver medalist.
With other major names, such as Tokyo games alternate Kayla DiCello, already verbally committing to dominating schools (University of Florida) be sure to tune in as these Olympian and world medalists transform into college gymnast. When the season starts you can catch these ladies on ABC, ESPN, SEC Network, and more as they strive for the perfect 10.