Jordan Chiles, Shilese Jones reflect on World gymnastics success: 'It's just the beginning for Team USA'

The Americans won a sixth consecutive women's team title at the World Championships in Liverpool, which finished Sunday (6 November), even without talismanic compatriot Simone Biles: "It's definitely going to be huge when 24 comes around," said a proud Jordan Chiles. 

4 min By Jo Gunston l Created 7 November 2022
Jordan Chiles

With Simone Biles taking time out to work on her mental health and get married, the US women’s squad headed to the UK in October for the first World Championships without their talismanic leader since 2019, the last time the team event was held.

Considering the 25-year-old has won 25 world medals – 19 gold including four team titles – Biles would be much missed, by team-mates and fans alike.

But the squad had already had a taster of how they would fare without the seven-time Olympic medallist, after a tricky experience at Tokyo 2020.

Going for a third consecutive women’s team title, Biles withdrew mid-competition after a case of the twisties, a dangerous mental-block issue in which mind and body are not in sync and resulting in a loss of aerial awareness during somersaults.

Biles received plaudits from sports stars around the world for putting her mental health first, and the team went on to refocus and win silver in the team competition, something for which fellow team member Jordan Chiles remains incredibly proud.

“Still to this day, in my eyes, it wasn't just we got a silver,” she told Olympics.com in Liverpool, of the team that also included Sunisa LeeGrace McCallum. Jade Carey and Mykayla Skinner competed in the individual events. “We won that silver because of all the circumstances that we had.”

Record breakers

In Liverpool, the team of Chiles, Carey, Shilese Jones, Leanne Wong and 17-year-old Skye Blakely, won gold by a distance with a score of 165.564, more than two marks ahead of silver medallists Great Britain on 163.363 points, with Canada third (160.563).

The record sixth consecutive title – Romania managed five in a row from 1994 to 2001 – proved a balm to Tokyo's challenges.

“Being able to come out here and win as a world champion is definitely an accomplishment, not only for me, I'm pretty sure for Jade as well, because she was part of that (Tokyo 2020) team as well,” said Chiles.

“It's really crazy to me to be part of a not one, not two, not three, not four, but six times that we have done this now. Like, it's just crazy. I can’t speak.

“Honestly, going into it, I didn't know how many times we've won as a team. I mean, people have thrown it out there on Twitter and Instagram like that. But I don't think that was even in our heads going into it. We kind of just wanted to stay focused and be strong as a team no matter what happened. Yes, we had some mishaps here and there, but at the end I felt like it was our party time," said the 21-year old.

“I told the girls, I said, ‘This is a USA party, let's go out there and have fun. And no matter what happens, we're still Team USA’. And so they put that in their mindset and that's what we did. We came back and just enjoyed the Floor Party.”

Paris here we come

Individual success came in the shape of silver in the all-around and uneven bars for Jones, a one-two on vault for Carey and Chiles, respectively, and a second and third for the same twosome on floor with Chiles besting Carey this time around.

“I couldn't ask for more,” said 20-year-old Jones, who had planned to retire after not making the USA team for Tokyo. Enjoying Biles' celebratory Gold Over America tour post Tokyo 2020, and then taking on board comments from her father, who died in December last year, that "there's still more left in you", changed her mind.

“This year has been full of ups and downs, and this has been my biggest goal for the last four years now. So from the beginning, for me not wanting to come back after the tour to where I'm at now, I am just unbelievably proud.”

“It feels amazing,” Chiles told Olympics.com after claiming silver on vault, not knowing there would be more to come when she replicated the feat on floor . “Honestly, I still am on a high from team final. And then now this. I definitely couldn't be more proud of myself… and being able just to come home with medals is definitely a cherry on top. I'm really excited. It's just the beginning for Jordan and I just have no words.”

By virtue of finishing on the podium, USA also sealed a team quota spot for Paris 2024, alongside Great Britain and Canada.

“It's just the beginning for Team USA,” said Chiles. “We're going to keep going out there, staying strong, striving and thriving for a lot of things that I know that we have in us. So it's definitely going to be huge when 24 comes around.”

Watch out Paris, the Team USA party is heading your way.

READ: How to qualiify for artistic gymnastics at Paris 2024

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