U.S. Junior Champ Katelyn Jong Ready For The Jump To The Senior Ranks 

By Ashlee Buhler 

As we head into the upcoming U.S. Classic in July and U.S. Championships in August, Inside Gymnastics will be introducing you to some of the rising stars for Team USA! Plus, subscribe now for our August issue featuring a full Championships Preview! 

Katelyn Jong couldn’t have asked for a better 2021 season. After the pandemic brought life (and her first Elite season) to a halt in 2020, Jong returned to competition in 2021 with the confidence and composure of a seasoned veteran. An individual with a soft and quiet demeanor, she prefers to let her gymnastics do the talking!

Jong won four gold medals at the 2021 U.S. Classic, including the All-Around title. Then came the U.S. Championships where she solidified her spot as the top junior gymnast in the nation by winning the All-Around and bar titles, as well as winning a silver on floor and bronze on vault. Her success continued at the Pan American Championships and Junior Pan American Games where she won a total of nine medals, six gold and three silver. 

Jong enters the senior ranks in 2022 with a lot of eyes on her. Most would think the level of success she had as a junior would translate into pressure and expectations as a senior, but Jong feels confident and prepared for the transition. Wth two and a half years to go until the Paris 2024 Olympics, Jong is simply taking the journey day by day, but if one thing is certain, she’s ready to shine bright on the senior stage!

Inside Gymnastics caught up with Katelyn to talk about the first few meets of her senior career, her goals for the season and more!

Tell me about your experience competing at Winter Cup earlier this year and making your senior debut! Were you happy with your performance at that meet? 

Yes I was! Going into Winter Cup I was nervous but mostly excited because it was my senior debut. I was not expecting much going into the competition because it was so early in the year, I was trying my best to just have fun, especially since it was my first senior competition. I felt like it went well and I am happy with my performance!

How are you feeling as you gear up for your first U.S. Classics & Championships as a senior? What are you most looking forward to? 

I feel good! I feel like I have been working really hard to clean up and add a few upgrades so I am excited for that. I’m really just looking forward to competing alongside all the amazing gymnasts and I hope I could go out there and have fun!

Can you share what any of your upgrades are? 

Yes! One upgrade that I am looking forward to is adding my Maloney half on bars!

Having had so much success in your final season as a junior, does that add to the pressure of meeting certain expectations as a senior? 

I wouldn’t say that it adds pressure to me. This being my first year as a senior I really just want to do my best and take in every opportunity that comes with being a senior. I feel like my last junior season gives me confidence to do so! 

What are your goals for this season—Classics, Championships and beyond? 

My goal is to add a few upgrades and execute them well and hit 4 for 4 at Classics and Championships! Beyond that I would love to make more international competitions! 

What is something fun or interesting that fans might not know about you? 

I enjoy playing the guitar! I have been playing the guitar for about three years now and it’s something I enjoy doing outside of gymnastics.

Who do you consider to be your biggest role model in the sport and why? 

I look up to Suni, she has clean gymnastics and her bars are amazing!

When you look back on what you’ve achieved so far, what stands out as one of your favorite moments? 

One of my favorite moments was after I competed my last event at U.S Championships. After my vault I was done competing and I was really happy with my performance over the last two days and it felt like I gave it my all — so I was proud of myself.

Photos by Lloyd Smith for Inside Gymnastics

For more:

2022 Winter Cup Photo Gallery

Rising Star Nola Matthews Readies For The Road Ahead 

Joscelyn Roberson – A Star On The Rise 

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