Jade Carey, Jordan Chiles ready for U.S. championships motivated by Tokyo performance

The duo, who both competed in the NCAA in 2022, will make their elite debuts this week in Tampa.

By Scott Bregman
Picture by 2022 Getty Images

Both Olympic team silver medallist Jordan Chiles and Olympic floor champion Jade Carey knew they weren't done with elite gymnastics after competition at Tokyo 2020.

"Making my return is honestly the most amazing thing. I'm here for myself. I just want to be able just to go out there and have fun," Chiles said ahead of this week's U.S. Gymnastics Championships in Tampa, Florida. "The lead up to coming back to championships actually started right after qualifications in Tokyo. I just thought it would be cool just to see if I could come back for however long I can and just to see how everything turns out."

The U.S. championships will be Chiles' first elite meet since competing at Tokyo 2020, though she's had plenty of competitive experience in 2022 as a member of the University of California at Los Angeles women's gymnastics team.

"I think I felt more confident in myself knowing that I was on a bigger stage. But also I felt like I could give myself more... a better opportunity," Chiles said of her desire to return. "Yes, it was an amazing experience being there [at the Olympics], and I just feel like now that I know myself and I feel like I can give more, that's what came to my head. And I was like, You know what? Let's try it again."

Carey, who like Chiles has not competed elite gymnastics since the Games but has had a busy collegiate experience, competing for Oregon State University, felt the push to continue elite gymnastics after an error in the all-around competition.

"I feel like after I went into the all-around final at the Olympics and I realized like how well I did, even with the fall on beam that I was kind of like my point where I was like, I want to make it back here again and do even better," said Carey of her motivation.

Both looked strong in Wednesday's (17 August) official practice. The duo rotated through the workout together, starting on vault where both performed solid double-twisting Yurchenkos with Carey also showing a Cheng second vault.

On the bars, both struggled at times with Carey missing her toe-on piked Tkatchev at times while Chiles worked through issues on a Tkatchev to Pak salto combination.

Before practice, Chiles said Wednesday she was unsure if she'd compete on the bars after having dealt with a shoulder injury since the NCAA season.

"I did have a shoulder injury, so that's why bars was kind of one of the last events to get together," Chiles explained. "But hopefully we'll switch it around. Hopefully I do compete all around this weekend and we'll just see how everything turns out."

The duo closed the workout with solid showings on the balance beam and floor exercise with Chiles tumbling a one-and-a-half through to full-twisting double back and Carey showing a front layout step-out through to full-in..

Competition at the U.S. championships begins Thursday (18 August) with the first of two days of men's competition.


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