By Anna Rose Johnson
USA’s Jordan Chiles is one of the most versatile gymnasts on the national team, always demonstrating her impressive power along with her remarkable all-around talent. Some of her notable accolades include placing second in the all-around at the 2017 U.S. Championships, winning the 2018 U.S. vault silver, and garnering three gold medals at the 2018 Pacific Rim Championships. In this interview, Chiles discusses the question of pro vs. college, her 2019 gym goals, and her favorite competition memories—including one that went viral in the gymnastics community!
Inside Gymnastics: How is your training going currently? Are you working on any upgrades?
Jordan Chiles: Training is going well; I have been in upgrade mode. After the first of the year I had a little dislocated toe injury, and I had to recover and start slowly making my way back. I am excited anytime I get to do new things, [and] I have been concentrating on increasing my start values.
Inside: What are you most looking forward to in NCAA gymnastics?
Jordan: Being a part of a team! I can’t wait to feel the support of teammates and working together towards our goals.
Inside: What are some of the reasons you chose UCLA?
Jordan: UCLA feels like family. The academic programs are outstanding, and it was close to home.
Inside: Will you head to UCLA this fall, or do you plan on deferring until after the Olympics?
Jordan: I am deferring until 2020 to focus on trying to make the World and Olympic teams. So no, I will not be there this fall, but I will be cheering my teammates on and I hope they will be doing the same for me.
Inside: Have you ever considered going pro?
Jordan: No, [although] people have asked me that. I have had sponsorship requests, but I want to compete for UCLA, so I will be keeping my NCAA eligibility.
Inside: What is your favorite competition memory?
Jordan: My favorite memory is the 2017 National Championships. I felt confident going into that meet, [but] unfortunately, I woke up the morning of competition not feeling well. After morning practice my mom took my temperature, and I had a fever. My gymnastics journey has not been an easy one, so I was upset because it seemed like something always happens before a meet. I fell asleep and prayed that I would feel better. Competition was that night. When I woke up—my fever had broken. I was not feeling 100% but my heart wanted to give it all I had. Once I got onto the competition floor, I felt energized and believed in myself. I did well [on] Day 1, but Day 2 I felt much stronger and had the meet of my life! Oh, and then there was that time I just kept spinning, LOL!
Inside: Which meets do you hope to compete in this year?
Jordan: Pan American Games, U.S. Classic, National Championships, and Worlds.
Inside: Are there any special meets, goals, or cool skills you’d love to check off your bucket list?
Jordan: I have a front triple. I have been working on it for a few years now, [and] I would love to compete it. Worlds is my main goal this year.
Inside: Are you going to compete in the all-around in the lead-up to Tokyo 2020? Have you ever considered becoming a specialist?
Jordan: Yes, I am going to compete AA leading up to Tokyo 2020. I have always been an AA gymnast and hope everything will come together when it counts the most. I have considered becoming a specialist in the past, but [I] feel strong in all four events.
Inside: What is your favorite place to travel?
Jordan: So far—Colombia. I loved my teammates, the staff and coaches, and it was fun!
Inside: What are your main goals for 2019?
Jordan: [To] show that I can be consistent and hit when it counts. Then [my] big #1 goal is Worlds.
Inside: What do you enjoy doing outside the gym?
Jordan: I love to shop!! Spending time with my family is pretty cool.
Inside: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Jordan: Thank you and thanks [to] everyone for supporting me. 🙂
Anna Rose Johnson writes about women’s artistic and rhythmic gymnastics. She loves Whippets, brownies, and full-twisting double layouts. Her writing portfolio can be viewed at: https://annarosejohnson.contently.com