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ST. LOUIS – Here’s information that is technically a spoiler on the U.S. women’s Olympic gymnastics exams on Sunday night that doesn’t really spoil at all: Simone Biles, the four-time Olympic gold medalist, is going to win.
With a lot.
With this, the 24-year-old Biles secured one of the two automatic berths in the US women’s team on the way to Tokyo and lets her many sponsors cheer. (The runner-up in the all-around event gets the other.) Should I also spoil the games by declaring that Biles will win everything? I’m sorry to ruin it for you, but she is so ahead of everyone else that she will, making her the first woman to successfully defend the all-round Olympic gold medal in more than 50 years.
The remaining question at these Olympic trials is which American Turner Biles’ supporting cast will be. Find out this answer on Sunday night on the second day of the St. Louis Women’s Event. The team, including up to five substitutes, will be announced no later than 30 minutes after the end of the event.
The television broadcast will begin at 8 p.m. on NBC and the Olympic Channel. The event will also be broadcast on the NBC Olympics website and NBC’s Peacock platform.
How is the team selected?
To get started, there are two categories of Olympic berths to choose from.
One category is for the four women team that will compete for the team gold medal. Selecting this team is not as easy as selecting the four best women in the all-around finals in the exams. Some calculations are required to create the strongest, highest scoring squad for the team finals.
In the team finals at the Olympic Games, each country selects three of its gymnasts who compete on each piece of equipment – the balance beam, the uneven bars, the jump and the floor exercise – and all three of these gymnasts count.
The first two placed in exams automatically form the four-women team. The other two gymnasts are selected by a US gymnastics committee under the direction of the coordinator of the women’s high-performance team, Tom Forster. A computer will help the committee determine the highest score from gymnasts using the gymnasts’ top marks.
The other category available for the Olympics is for individuals or event specialists who do not want to compete in the team competition and want to win gold for themselves. They will wear jerseys as opposed to the ones their team wears for viewers to recognize.
One of these single places was captured by Jade Carey from Phoenix, who qualified because of her strong placement in the FIG World Cup series. The other place is chosen by a US gymnastics committee that examines which woman has the best chance of winning a medal on a particular piece of equipment.
Here are the top candidates who are not Simone Biles.
Sunisa Lee hopes to represent their Hmong community in St. Paul, Minnesota by forming their first Olympic team. And if anyone other than Biles has a chance of a gold medal, it’s Lee, 18. Her uneven bars set is the toughest and most complicated in the world. If she can make it in the games, she’ll be almost unbeatable.
Jordan ChileThe 20-year-old has proven time and again that she is a gymnast you can rely on. To be precise, I counted 20 exercises out of 20 that she did this year that were free of major errors. It’s good that she didn’t stop gymnastics in 2018, as she briefly considered. At the moment she is the national team’s most consistent performer.
Basics of the Summer Olympics
Who are other top contenders?
MyKayla Skinner, 24, came back from battling Covid-19 and pneumonia earlier this year to perform phenomenally on the first day of exams. She finished fourth in the all-around competition and showed she was worth the coveted fourth Olympic spot after serving as a replacement for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games.
Grace McCallum, 18, has improved in every competition since returning from hand surgery in January. She has great perks that could lead to her climax in Tokyo which is exactly what USA Gymnastics is looking for. She had the second-best number of points in the floor exercise on day 1 and is only a tenth of a point behind Skinner in the all-around competition.
Kayla DiCelloThe 17-year-old took third place in the floor exercise on the first day of the test after a disappointing performance at the national championships. You, Skinner and McCallum only separate three tenths of a point in the trials.
Apart from one injury or a number of serious errors, Riley McCusker, who will be 20 years old next month, has signed a place as an individual competitor in Tokyo on the dashed line. On Day 1, she got a solid 14.80 on the uneven bars, with room for improvement in the execution of that score. It would be a significant win for her to form the team after returning from a string of injuries and traveling across the country to escape an abusive coach.
What can we expect or not from bile?
Biles failed to perform her stunning Yurchenko double pike jump on the first day of exams, so she couldn’t break it for the second time in a competition on Sunday night. The first time she landed the move was at the US Classic in May, and videos of it went viral. This time another necessary training of the jump would be in competition before the Olympics, where she wants to do it so that it can be named after her. (A gymnastics move is named after the first gymnast to land him in a major international competition.)
However, on day 1 of the trials, Biles broke out a characteristic movement that had not been seen for some time. It was her characteristic descent on the balance beam. The biles on the balance beam is a double-twist-double-flip relegation, and before Day 1, she hadn’t played it since 2019. The crowd was wild, of course. The night ended with a standing ovation.
Spoiler: Day 2 will end the same way.