Team USA gymnast Jade Carey forged her own path to Olympic gold.
The 21-year-old qualified her own spot to the Tokyo Games by winning the International Gymnastics Federation’s apparatus World Cup series on vault. For Carey, that spot was mathematically locked in early 2020 and allowed her to focus on peaking at the perfect moment.
“It's definitely been crazy. The whole experience was crazy traveling around the world, and it was just really cool,” Carey told Olympics.com after the Tokyo title win.
She shared her journey with her father, Brian, who is also her coach.
“He means everything to me. I'm really glad that we were able to share this experience together,” said Carey. “And I honestly did it for him as much as I did it for myself.
That triumph came a day after a scary mishap on the vault. But Carey, with the help of her father, shook of the mistake and made the floor final her golden moment.
“I'm just really proud of myself for turning it around after vault, and just making it the best day ever,” Carey said. “It was really hard, especially at first because I was so upset. But my dad just told me to we had to let it go and that we could turn the worst day into the best day.”
Now, she’s taking that success on the road, joining Simone Biles’ 35-city Gold Over America Tour, which begins 21 September in Tucson.
It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, says Carey, who will miss her first weeks as a student at Oregon State University to participate.
“I wish I wasn’t going to miss out on the first few weeks of school, but I’m also really grateful that I’m going to have this opportunity to go on tour that I might not get again,” Carey said, according to the Albany Democrat-Herald. “So many opportunities that I have now, and it’s just been really exciting to do a bunch of fun things.”
After the tour wraps, Carey will join the women’s gymnastics team at OSU. Their season begins in January.
“I’m really excited about being part of this gymnastics team. We’re a team, but we’re also individuals. I feel like college is more the team aspect, so I’m really looking forward to that,” Carey said.