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.
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)
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.
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!):
Jade Carey, Phoenix, Ariz./Arizona Sunrays, senior
MyKayla Skinner, Gilbert, Ariz./Desert Lights Gymnastics, senior
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
Morgan Hurd, Middletown, Del./First State Gymnastics, senior
Charlotte Booth, Clermont, Fla./Brandy Johnson’s Global Gymnastics, junior
Leanne Wong, Overland Park, Kan./Great American Gymnastics Express, senior
Kayla DiCello, Boyds, Md./Hill’s Gymnastics, senior
Azaraya Ra-Akbar, Columbia, Md./World Class Gymnastics, junior
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
Kara Eaker, Grain Valley, Mo./Great American Gymnastics Express, senior
Aleah Finnegan, Lee’s Summit, Mo./Great American Gymnastics Express, senior
Kailin Chio, Henderson, Nev./Gymcats Gymnastics, junior
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
Kaylen Morgan, Huntersville, N.C./Everest Gymnastics, senior
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
Addison Fatta, Wrightsville, Pa./Prestige Gymnastics, senior
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
Ava Siegfeldt, Williamsburg, Va./World Class Gymnastics, senior
Chellsie Memmel, Dousman, Wis./M and M Gymnastics, senior
Faith Torrez, Bristol, Wis./Legacy Elite Gymnastics, senior