FROM Simone Biles taking time to work on her mental health and get married, the US women’s team traveled to the UK in October for the first World Cup without their leader talisman since 2019, when the team event was last held.
Considering the 25-year-old has won 25 world medals – 19 gold, including four team titles – Biles would be greatly missed by both his teammates and fans.
But the team had already had a taste of how they would manage without the seven-time Olympic medalist, after a difficult experience in Tokyo 2020.
Going for a third straight women’s team title, Biles withdrew midway through the competition after a case of sprains, a dangerous mental block where the mind and body are out of sync and causes loss of awareness in the air during flips.
Biles received praise from sports stars around the world for putting her mental health first, and the team refocused and won silver in the team event, for which another team member Jordan Chiles remains incredibly proud.
“In my eyes to this day, we have not only won silver,” she told Olympics.com in Liverpool of the team, which also included Sunia Lee, Grace McCallum. Jade Carey and Mykayla Skinner competed in individual competitions. “We won this silver thanks to all the circumstances we had.”
In Liverpool team Chiles, Carey, Shilese Jones, Leanna Wong and a 17-year-old Skye Blakelyshe won gold in the distance with a score of 165.564, more than two marks ahead of silver medalists Great Britain with 163.363 points and Canada third (160.563).
A record sixth title in a row – Romania won five in a row between 1994 and 2001 – proved to be the cure for Tokyo’s challenges.
“To be able to come here and win as a world champion is definitely an achievement, not only for me, I’m pretty sure Jade as well, because she was part of this (Tokyo 2020) team as well,” Chiles said.
“It’s really crazy for me to be a part of not one, not two, not three, not four, but six times we’ve done it now. It’s just crazy. I can not speak
“To be honest, going into it, I didn’t know how many times we won as a team. I mean, people put it there on Twitter and Instagram like this. But I don’t think it’s even in our heads. We just wanted to stay focused and be strong as a team, no matter what happens. Yes, we had a few mishaps here and there, but towards the end I felt like it was our party time,” said the 21-year-old.
“I told the girls, I said, ‘This is a party in the US, let’s go there and have fun.’ And no matter what happens, we’re still Team USA.” So they put it in their mindset and that’s what we did. We came back and just had fun at the Floor Party.”
Paris, here we come
Individual success came in the form of silvers in round and uneven bars for Jones, one-two in jump for Carey and Chiles respectively, and second and third for the same two on floor, where Chiles defeated Carey this time.
“I couldn’t ask for more,” said Jones, 20, who was planning to retire after failing to make Team USA in Tokyo. While enjoying the Biles Gold Over America Celebration Tour of Tokyo 2020, and then considering comments from her father, who passed away last December, that “there’s even more to you,” she changed her mind.
“This year has been full of ups and downs, and that has been my biggest goal for the last four years. So right from the start, because I didn’t want to go back on tour to where I am now, I’m just incredibly proud.”
“It feels amazing,” Chiles told Olympics.com after winning silver in the vault, not knowing there would be more when she repeated the feat on the court. “Honestly, I’m still at a high level after the team final. And then this now. I definitely couldn’t be more proud of myself… and coming home with medals is definitely the icing on the cake. I’m really excited. This is just the beginning for Jordan and I’m just speechless.
By finishing on the podium, the United States also secured a spot on the team Paris 2024alongside Great Britain and Canada.
“This is just the beginning for Team USA,” said Chiles. “We will continue to go out there staying strong, fighting and growing for the many things that I know we have within us. So it’s definitely going to be huge when the 24th arrives.
Watch out for Paris, the Team USA party is headed your way.
TO READ: How to Qualify for Rhythmic Gymnastics Paris 2024