7 questions for Olympic gymnasts and silver medalist Jordan Chiles


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Believe it or not, the Tokyo Olympics were only a few months ago. But while we have to wait three years for the world’s biggest sporting event to return (or just four months for the winter version), Milwaukee won’t have to wait nearly as long for one of its major sporting events like The Gold Over America Tour to return On Saturday October 16th, some of the world’s most incredible gymnasts for the Fiserv Forum.

This year’s tour brings many notable athletes worth flipping through – including the GOAT Simone Biles, viral gymnastics phenomenon Katelyn Ohashi, 2016 team gold medalist Laurie Hernandez, and the youngest Tokyo Olympians Jade Carey, Grace McCallum, MyKayla Skinner and Jordan Chiles. Before hitting the mat in Milwaukee, we had the chance to speak to Chiles about her experience in Tokyo, her plans for the future, the increasing attention to mental health in athletics, and her plans for her silver medal in Tokyo.

OnMilwaukee: I have to start with the obvious question: what was it like to go to the Tokyo Olympics – and not just the Olympics, but one of the weirdest Olympics in history?

Jordan Chiles: It was an interesting experience, I have to say – but I loved every minute. If I could I would go back and do it all over again. I honestly think the only reason it was an interesting experience was, yeah, COVID and all that. But at the end of the day we all found that we made it to a major gymnastics competition and for all of our performances in in the past this was our reward. So everything we just did was very, very unforgettable and we have a lot of memories that we will take back with us. And it was an incredible experience.

And you not only brought back memories, but also a silver medal. Do you know where you’re going to put this or do you have special plans for it?

Right now I really don’t know where to put it. It will be safely hidden and it only comes out occasionally when I need it. But otherwise it will be hidden and no one will ever find out where it is. (laughs)

How much did you experience in Tokyo? Did that even exist, and if not, how did you spend the time between events, games, and downtime?

Unfortunately, due to the COVID protocols, we were not allowed to visit any sights. We had to stay in our bladder and we had to quarantine for 14 days before we could really do anything – and by the end of those 14 days we were already going home. So we really didn’t have time to go out and we couldn’t even see the other Olympics that were going on because we had to stay in our bladder that we had.

Personally, I would return as a vacation to do sightseeing and visit small areas there. Your culture is amazing; The people are amazing and so nice. I love it. Otherwise I would say ten out of ten – recommended. If you want to vacation in Tokyo, go – because it’s amazing.

Is there any part of you who somehow missed the Olympic spectacle?

Yes and no. I wanted to see the other games that were happening – especially athletics. Otherwise we could still go to the Olympic Village. We could meet other people when we were in the village. But honestly, this is a one-time thing, so not all Olympics will be created equal. You will meet different people; You will see different things. Obviously, because of the whole pandemic and everything else, this one is very different from the others – and hopefully it will be the last. But this one is going to go down in many history books because of what happened and how it all happened.

Yes, you will always be part of a moment like this in history – which must feel weird and exciting and strange at the same time, I imagine.

(laughs) It does. It’s very interesting how I’ll be with everyone else in those moments – who are vastly superior to me with what they have achieved. But being in the same world is going to be really cool.

I don’t know if that looks too early into the future, but are you already looking to Paris 2024? What is the future for you?

Right now I’m not looking too far to Paris because we have the tour. That’s what I’m concentrating on right now, because that’s another great achievement: going on a gymnastics tour and visiting different cities and showing the world, “Look, that’s me; I have a completely different side of myself. ”And then I have school; I’m going to UCLA this winter, so this is going to be really fun and cool.

But I can tell you that ’24 was on the air. I’ve been thinking about it, but I just take things day after day, month after month just to see how my body and mind can stay focused. Because that’s what it’s all about: being healthy in both directions. But we will see! I can’t give you a specific answer, but we’ll see. You never know. (laughs)

You have touched on the mental and physical sides of the sport, which have obviously been under scrutiny in the past Olympics. How did you feel about the conversation that was going on around everything? Was it frustrating to hear the takes, or was it nice to have this information – like the “Twisties” – available to the general public?

I’m glad it’s out. I am 100 percent for what happened. Because there are a lot of things the outside world doesn’t know about Turner and what we go through behind the scenes. I wish everyone could look behind the scenes and understand why we do a lot of the things we do. Because then they would understand, “Oh, that person did this; that makes sense because of what was going on. ”

Mental health should have been talked about for a long time, but you have to have the right person – and Simone was that right person. She could go out there and talk and do what she did. She’s the GOAT for a reason. She is the GOAT in many ways. There are different sides of it, and there are a lot of sides that people have yet to see – and I’m glad that side came out and people could see that.

Yes, there have been rude comments here or there, but these people don’t exist, they don’t matter because she is who she is. The ability to come out and do what she did was an amazing thing and inspired a lot of people. It inspired her to take a whole new direction. It is an amazing thing. Naomi Osaka: What she did was an amazing thing. It is important for everyone to make sure that they are healthy in some way: mentally, physically, emotionally. So the ability to come out and talk about it is an amazing thing.

I just feel like if I feel any level of discomfort or insecurity or mentally in a strange place, I can’t think of anything worse than jumping and jumping several feet in the air and trying to land it. It can be a dangerous sport if you are not smart about these things.

Yes, exactly. And I wish people could see that. But they think we do a lot of these things for them. If they want us to perform well, we have to be healthy in order for them to be happy. It is what it is. You are human. You are human. You can’t control what they’re saying. All we can do is control what we do to ourselves.

For this tour, will the routines be similar to what you saw at the Olympics, or will this be new material, new show, new approach?

We’re not going to do our Olympic routines because that’s going to be a lot considering we travel to over 30 cities. It’s going to be a bit like a pop concert. Imagine if Beyonce goes to every city and just enjoys what it does. We will do that. There’s going to be a ton of LED lights, spoken word, social media interactions – it’s going to be really fun. It will be something you wouldn’t expect – but you will say, “I want to go on this tour again next year.”

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