Team USA Settles Into a Routine in Tokyo!

By Chris Korotky, Christy Sandmaier contributing

On the Ground!

Team USA is now two days into training in Tokyo and settling into a rhythm as the team inches closer to competition (Link: See Full Schedule Line-up Here). 

Each of the members of Team USA – Simone Biles, Sunisa Lee, Jordan Chiles, Grace McCallum, MyKayla Skinner and Jade Carey – has represented the United States in international competition and the rhythm of travel, time changes, and working to peak at the right time is nothing new. In fact, five of the six team members have competed at the World Championships, with the exception of Chiles who does have international experience at events like Pacific Rim, the World Cup and Jesolo.

This year’s Olympic journey began with the team departing the United States from San Francisco International Airport, where a camera crew caught up with the athletes – decked out with Olympic and Team USA gear, right down to the fingernails (pictured: MyKayla Skinner’s Olympic-themed manicure!) – departing U.S. soil to embark on a journey of a lifetime.

Ten and a half hours after takeoff, Team USA landed at Tokyo’s Narita mega airport. Delegations from around the world knew that processing would take place upon landing, but many teams didn’t anticipate the amount of time it would take to make it through multiple checkpoints at the airport – from arrival checks to customs to COVID testing stations.

The U.S. women’s delegation spent about five hours going through this process before catching a bus to their hotel. “We’re tired and going to sleep well tonight I think,” U.S. High Performance Coordinator Tom Forster noted on social media. “We have a busy day tomorrow as we begin our training regiment.”

Go Time!

For Day 1 of training for Team USA, the team opted for a star-studded leotard primarily in hues of blue with white accents and red shoulder straps that drew high praise from fans on social media. Despite the jet lag, the team looked to be settling in just fine and was all smiles in a photo shared by Sunisa Lee, in which Jordan Chiles flashed a peace sign! 

The team is training on the campus of Juentendo University, where the large gym is nicely equipped, well lit and welcoming, and Day 1 was designed as a light workout. “Getting used to the equipment today,” Forster posted. “We went very light to accommodate for the time change and stick to our strategy of peaking at the right time. The girls did well today!”

Forster also provided some background on the “very strict” protocols in place and shared a photo of the team spaced apart where they’ll eat their meals. “We start our day with a Covid test, temperature check (twice) and are escorted everywhere to prevent us from mingling with the Japanese public,” he said. “We have not seen any other athletes yet. Essentially we are in our hotel rooms, or a bus, the gym, or a make shift dinning room they setup for Team USA.”

With teams somewhat limited in their activities due to protocols, the team has not been out and about much and, as Forster noted, has not had time around other teams, but they’ve continued to bond as a group and have been sharing moments on social media that have featured lots of smiles. Biles entertained herself and her fans with an Instagram session where she asked Followers to share a secret with her and she responded back to many! Sporting her Olympic bathrobe, Biles gave entertaining responses worthy of an advice columnist! Tackling subjects from surprising parents with gifts to skipping school to body confidence, Simone’s expressions with her responses said it all – bright smiles, eye rolls, surprised looks and cheers among them!

With no family, fans and seemingly very little or no interaction with athletes from other sports in other countries, the team will be more reliant on each other than ever before, creating a bond that may be the strongest and most resilient ever held among a team in recent history. 

For Day 2 of training, Team USA was back to Juentendo, this time sporting dark blue sleeveless training leos and warm-ups, with USA lettering and stars front and center. Grace McCallum and Jade Carey showed off the apparel, etching yet another bonding moment for the longtime besties and roommates. 

Opening Ceremonies are now just 5 days away, and from the light workout on Day 1 to adjusting to the time change and equipment, Team USA will continue to ramp up toward competition day!

With their high level of difficulty and sheer talent, the U.S. women’s team heads into the Games as the absolute odds-on favorites for Gold. Will they repeat and will The GOAT reign in the All-Around again? How many medals will they bring home and who will be the breakout star and surprise us all? With a team full of superstars, it could be anyone’s game and we can’t wait to share their moments and the storylines that will shape their time in Tokyo.

We’ll continue to bring you the latest on Team USA leading up to competition and throughout the Games. Stay tuned!

Photos: Sunisa Lee, MyKayla Skinner, Simone Biles, Grace McCallum, Tom Forster

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