By Christy Sandmaier
Tokyo is rising and the GOAT is ready to take the stage.
The GK U.S. Classic comes to Indianapolis this weekend with Simone Biles headlining a star-studded field already glittering with gold, countless accolades and eyes on Tokyo. Along with the reigning Olympic champ and owner of 25 World Championships medals, the stacked roster includes the entire 2019 gold-medal winning World Championships team (Jade Carey, Kara Eaker, Sunisa Lee, Grace McCallum, and alternate MyKayla Skinner), 2018 world team gold-medalist Riley McCusker, 2016 Rio gold and silver medalist Laurie Hernandez, 2017 World All-around Champion Morgan Hurd, Winter Cup Champion Jordan Chiles, and 2021 American Classic Champion Skye Blakely.
In addition, 2008 Olympic silver medalist Chellsie Memmel will compete in her first meet in nine years, a feat that has the gymnastics universe buzzing with excitement. And don’t forget about 2019 American Cup Champion Leanne Wong, 2019 Jr. U.S. All-around Champion Kayla DiCello and runner-up Konnor McClain, who will all be looking to make their case for Tokyo.
It’s well-known that making the U.S. women’s team is more difficult than competing in the Games and the field is more loaded than ever as the simultaneous marathon and sprint to the finish starts. For over a year, these women 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. And for that alone, we salute them.
Biles will surely land at the top in Indy if she does all four events, and even more exciting than that is the possibility of seeing her debut the already legendary Yurchenko double pike we’ve seen in training. If she does it, get ready for the vault heard ’round the world.
She owns her titles. Owns her gold medals. And owns her greatness. We are in awe each time she competes, each time she throws a new skill and at the same time, we’ve become nearly normalized to her winning by record margins every time she steps on the floor. In our lifetime, we are certain not to see another athlete of Biles’ calibre or of her sheer talent, athleticism, skill level, and innate ability to hit in the perfect moment for a very long time, if ever.
So, as she begins what could be her swan song in the sport this weekend, we’ll take in each moment, each skill, each stare and smile and remember how lucky we are to be witnessing an era of gymnastics we’ll likely never see again. It’s her story. And that’s exactly the way she wants it.
Who and How to Watch
The senior field is split into two sessions:
Session 1 – May 22 1p.m. E.T. on Peacock (They will also broadcast a warm-up show of the second senior session from 5:30-6:30 p.m. ET.)
- Mya Witte – Genie’s Gymnastics
- Hailey Klein – Flips Gymnastics North Shore
- Temple Landry – Twin City Twisters
- Grace McCallum – Twin City Twisters
- Elle Mueller – Twin City Twisters
- Lexi Zeiss – Omaha Gymnastics Academy
- eMjae Frazier – Parkettes
- Skylar Draser – Parkettes
- Laurie Hernandez – Gym Max
- Shilese Jones – Future Gymnastics Academy
- Addison Fatta – Prestige
- Skye Blakely – WOGA
- Sophia Butler – Discover
- Emma Malabuyo – Texas Dreams
- Katelyn Rosen – Mavericks
- Jamison Sears – World Class Gymnastics
- Ava Siegfeldt – World Class Gymnastics
- Konnor McClain – Revolution
- Chellsie Memmel – M&M
- Faith Torrez – Legacy Elite
Session 2 – May 22 7p.m. ET on NBCSN
- Jade Carey – Arizona Sunrays
- Riley McCusker – Arizona Sunrays
- Mykayla Skinner – Desert Lights
- Ciena Alipio – Midwest Gymnastics Center
- Sunisa Lee – Midwest Gymnastics Center
- Lyden Saltness – Midwest Gymnastics Center
- Emily Lee – West Valley
- Morgan Hurd – First State
- Alonna Kratzer – Top Notch Training Center
- Leanne Wong – GAGE
- Kara Eaker – GAGE
- Aleah Finnegan – GAGE
- Kayla DiCello – Hill’s
- Anya Pilgrim – Hill’s
- Lauren Little – Everest
- Kaylen Morgan – Everest
- Sydney Barros – WCC
- Simone Biles – WCC
- Jordan Chiles – WCC
- Amari Drayton – WCC
- Karis German – WCC
- Zoe Miller – WCC
The GK Hopes Championships and junior session of the GK U.S. Classic will be live-streamed on Flo.
GK Hopes Championships – May 21 – 1:40 p.m. ET
GK U.S. Classic (Juniors) – May 21 – 6:40 p.m. ET
Photo credits: Grace Chiu and Lloyd Smith for Inside Gymnastics
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