By Christy Sandmaier and Ashlee Buhler

Today in Fort Worth the greatest gymnast of all time takes the floor for the first day of women’s senior competition at the U.S. Championships.

The last time the U.S. Championships were held, Simone Biles notched the sixth title of her career. Barring anything out of the ordinary, she should make it seven in Fort Worth.

For the GOAT, Championships will be all about fine tuning her routines on the competition floor and gaining experience with new upgrades. During the break, Biles pushed the technical boundaries of the sport sky-high and began working on a Yurchenko double pike—a skill never before competed by a female gymnast. In Indianapolis at the GK U.S. Classic, Biles sent shockwaves through the gymnastics universe by debuting the skill live in competition. When asked by the AP why she would compete a vault not given the value it deserves (a 6.6; when Biles and her coaches were hoping for a 6.8), the GOAT simply responded, “Because I can.”

Tokyo is rising and Simone is ready to take the stage. Who will join her on Team USA is anyone’s guess. Right now, we’ve come up with easily five, six, seven teams that could win gold. Sunisa Lee, Jordan Chiles, Grace McCallum, Kayla DiCello, Leanne Wong, MyKayla Skinner, Skye Blakely, Morgan Hurd (who will only be competing beam and floor in Fort Worth due to the recent surgery she had on her right elbow), and Kara Eaker are all in the picture. And what of Jade Carey? Where does she fit? Will she accept the Olympic individual spot she’s already mathematically qualified for via the World Cup route, or does she make more sense on the four-member team? Riley McCusker is limited to bars in Fort Worth due to injury, does she look to factor into the individual spot? 

When it comes time to choose the team, will it be the top four All-Arounders or will a different strategy be employed? 

Chellsie Memmel and Laurie Hernandez have made us all believers in their comebacks. Inspiring us. Inspiring each other. Will this be the last time we see them on the competitive floor in 2021? Or, is there more in store for these two legendary athletes?

All of these questions and more will be played out right in front of us starting today in Fort Worth. But first, there is a national champion to be crowned and a national team to be named.

Barring a disaster, Biles will win easily. The race for second and third however, is definitely going to be a battle. We see it as a race between Chiles, McCallum and DiCello. But if Lee goes all four events and increased difficulty from Classics this weekend, she’s sure to be right there. Wong is also on our list – if she hits four events, she could be the surprise of the competition. And after injuries, set backs and a bout with COVID and pneumonia, will MyKayla Skinner be close to full speed to challenge for a medal? 

For over a year, these athletes have faced the ultimate test – their Olympic story rewritten and absolutely out of their control due to a global pandemic.  Through it all, they have risen to the challenge that comes with simply devoting themselves to one more year of intense training – some for the chance to compete in the Olympic Games, some to make their first senior national team and some to complete a journey they may have never taken if it hadn’t been for one more year. 

Following Fort Worth, the road heads to St. Louis for Olympic Trials, the final test in a dream that has been building for a lifetime. 

For a further look at the field, click here!

How To Watch:

The below competition schedule is subject to change. All sessions are listed in central time.

  • Friday, June 4: Women’s gymnastics – 1:00 p.m., juniors, and 6:30 p.m., seniors
  • Sunday, June 6: Women’s gymnastics – 12:00 p.m., juniors, and 5:30 p.m., seniors

TV Broadcasts – all times ET.
June 4 – 8:00 p.m. ET – Senior Women Day 1 – NBCSN (Live)
June 6 – 7:00 p.m. ET – Senior Women Day 2 – NBC (Live)

Webcasts
All four senior competitions will be streamed in the U.S. on http://nbcsports.com/live. Cable login required.

All senior routines will be posted to the USA Gymnastics YouTube channel following each session.

Podium training, all junior competitions, and international feeds of all four senior competitions will be streamed on FloGymnastics.

Who’s Competing

Women’s National Teams will be named following the conclusion of the U.S. Gymnastics Championships.

Per the roster released by USA Gymnastics May 29 (stay tuned for updates!):

Women’s Competition

Arizona

Jade Carey, Phoenix, Ariz./Arizona Sunrays, senior

MyKayla Skinner, Gilbert, Ariz./Desert Lights Gymnastics, senior

California

Ciena Alipio, San Jose, Calif./Midwest Gymnastics Center, senior

Emily Lee, Los Gatos, Calif./West Valley Gymnastics School, senior

Nola Matthews, Gilroy, Calif./Airborne Gymnastics Training Center, junior

Delaware

Morgan Hurd, Middletown, Del./First State Gymnastics, senior

Florida

Charlotte Booth, Clermont, Fla./Brandy Johnson’s Global Gymnastics, junior

Kansas

Leanne Wong, Overland Park, Kan./Great American Gymnastics Express, senior

Maryland

Kayla DiCello, Boyds, Md./Hill’s Gymnastics, senior

Azaraya Ra-Akbar, Columbia, Md./World Class Gymnastics, junior

Minnesota

Sunisa Lee, St. Paul, Minn./Midwest Gymnastics Center, senior

Grace McCallum, Isanti, Minn./Twin City Twisters, senior

Lyden Saltness, Chisago City, Minn./Midwest Gymnastics Center, senior

Missouri

Kara Eaker, Grain Valley, Mo./Great American Gymnastics Express, senior

Aleah Finnegan, Lee’s Summit, Mo./Great American Gymnastics Express, senior

Nevada

Kailin Chio, Henderson, Nev./Gymcats Gymnastics, junior

New Jersey

eMjae Frazier, Erial, N.J./Parkettes National Gymnastics Center, senior

Laurie Hernandez, Old Bridge, N.J./Gym-Max Gymnastics, senior

Riley McCusker, Brielle, N.J./Arizona Sunrays, senior

North Carolina

Kaylen Morgan, Huntersville, N.C./Everest Gymnastics, senior

Ohio

Shilese Jones, Westerville, Ohio/Future Gymnastics Academy, senior

Ella Kate Parker, West Chester, Ohio/Cincinnati Gymnastics, junior

Izzy Stassi, North Royalton, Ohio/Gym X-Treme, junior

Gabriella Van Frayen, Lewis Center, Ohio/Gym X-Treme, junior

Pennsylvania

Addison Fatta, Wrightsville, Pa./Prestige Gymnastics, senior

Texas

Sydney Barros, Lewisville, Texas/World Champions Center, senior

Simone Biles, Spring, Texas/World Champions Center, senior

Skye Blakely, Frisco, Texas/WOGA Gymnastics, senior

Jordan Chiles, Spring, Texas/World Champions Centre, senior

Amari Drayton, Spring, Texas/World Champions Centre, senior

Karis German, Spring, Texas/World Champions Centre, senior

Madray Johnson, Dallas, Texas/WOGA Gymnastics, junior

Katelyn Jong, Allen, Texas/Metroplex Gymnastics, junior

Avery King, Dallas, Texas/WOGA Gymnastics, junior

Kaliya Lincoln, Frisco, Texas/WOGA Gymnastics, junior

Emma Malabuyo, Flower Mound, Texas/Texas Dreams Gymnastics, senior

Zoe Miller, Spring, Texas/World Champions Centre, senior

Ella Murphy, Frisco, Texas/WOGA Gymnastics, junior

Joscelyn Roberson, Texarkana, Texas/North East Texas Elite Gymnastics, junior

Katelyn Rosen, Boerne, Texas/Mavericks Gymnastics, senior

Virginia

Ava Siegfeldt, Williamsburg, Va./World Class Gymnastics, senior

Wisconsin

Chellsie Memmel, Dousman, Wis./M and M Gymnastics, senior

Faith Torrez, Bristol, Wis./Legacy Elite Gymnastics, senior

Photos by Lloyd Smith  for Inside Gymnastics

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