Rounding Off: U.S. women's gymnastics trials begin today

Plus, more on Oksana Chusovitina's return, Jordyn Wieber and Chris Brooks are engaged, and a look back at Roxana Popa at Tokyo 2020

By Scott Bregman
Picture by 2021 Getty Images

The first of two days of competition to select the four women who will represent Team USA at the upcoming 2021 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Kitakyushu, Japan, begins today (8 October).

The two-day selection camp is being held in Indianapolis and will be live streamed on FloGymnastics at 5:40 p.m. ET.

With Tokyo 2020 Olympians Simone Biles, Suni Lee, Jordan Chiles, Grace McCallum, MyKayla Skinner and Jade Carey not currently training elite, the team headed to Japan will be a group of mostly newcomers.

The athletes vying for a place at the worlds are:

  • Leanne Wong, 2020 Olympic team alternate and 2019 American Cup champion
  • Kayla DiCello, 2020 Olympic team alternate and 2019 junior world vault champion
  • Konnor McClain, 2019 U.S. championships junior all-around silver medallist
  • Olivia Greaves, 2019 U.S. championships junior uneven bars champion
  • eMjae Frazier, 2020 Friendship and Solidarity team champion
  • Ciena Alipio, 2019 American Classic champion

Friday's competition is an all-around event, and the winner locks her spot to the Worlds. The U.S. women's squad will be named Saturday after a second day of competition, where athletes will compete on one or two apparatus.

The U.S. women have dominated the World championships for the past decade, claiming every world team title since 2011. Three women, Jordyn Wieber, Biles and Morgan Hurd have won every all-around title in that same period.

Oksana Chusovitina: "When your heart asks for it, you have to do it."

After announcing that she would return to training after a brief retirement following the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Oksana Chusovitina gave Sputnik News an interview explaining the decision.

“Yesterday, I made the decision to train for the Asian Games. I made this decision because, after all, I end my career without a medal," said Chusovitina, according to a translation from Gymnovosti. "It won’t be Olympics, it will be the Asian Games, nonetheless, I want to end my career on a high note. We’re talking only about the Asian Games, so I’m only training for that. I’ll compete at the Asian Games, try to win a medal, and that will be it.”

At 46 years old, Chusovitina has been to eight Olympic Games, representing the Unified team (1992), Uzbekistan (1996, 2000, 2004, 2016, 2020) and Germany (2008, 2012). She helped the Unified team to gold.

Though she has collected eight medals at the Asian Games (all for Uzbekistan), she says wants one more to close out her legendary career.

“I’d really like to end my career with a medal for Uzbekistan. When your heart asks for it, you have to do it. I’m not proving anything to anyone, I just want to prove it to myself," Chusovitina said. "I want to try it, so that I won’t have regrets later. After all, not being able to do it [to win a medal] at the Olympics left a bad taste in my mouth.”

Congratulations to Jordyn Wieber and Chris Brooks!

2012 Olympic gold medallist Jordyn Wieber and 2016 Olympian Chris Brooks announced their engagement this week.

"I was in Michigan being inducted into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame and I was celebrating with my entire family and he surprised me by flying in and surprising me! He walked in the door, my jaw dropped, and he got on one knee," Wieber said, according to People.com.

The couple have been dating since 2016, but met at the Worlds in 2011.

"We both continued training and I made the 2012 Olympic team and he made the 2016 Olympic team. We remained friends for five years and then reconnected on the 2016 post-Olympic tour and started dating," said Wieber. "We were long-distance for three years before we both moved to Arkansas to coach together at the university. We've been together for five years now."

Wieber is the head coach of the women’s gymnastics team at the University of Arkansas while Brooks is an assistant coach.

From the vault…

This week, we’re not going too far back when we look at Roxana Popa of Spain’s floor routine from Tokyo 2020. The 24-year-old opened with an incredibly difficult two whip backs through to a double layout. She finished with a 12.533 for 55th place overall on the event.