The best gymnasts in the country will be twisting through the air, vying to make it onto the United States national team and among them is the most decorated American gymnast of all time — Simone Biles.
She’s in San Jose’s SAP Center competing alongside reigning Olympic all-around champ Suni Lee.
At the end of this competition, the U.S. national teams will be selected and the road to the 2024 Olympic Games officially begins.
There is a lot of star power here. This is the first time two Olympic all-around gold medalists are competing: Biles and Lee.
Biles has four gold medals from Rio, and Lee won all-round gold in Tokyo as well as silver, and bronze.
All eyes were on them at training as they flew, twisted, flipped, vaulted and stuck the landings. But starting Friday, they’re doing it to win.
Not just the megastars, but some local Olympic hopefuls too.
On Thursday, the men competed and our local athletes dominated. Stanford has the largest contingent with 11 guys of 49 competing along with their celebrated coach.
At the end of day one, Asher Hong was in the lead, and team mates Khoi Young and Colt Walker in the top six — all aware of the importance of a good showing.
“This USA championship will select our national team and then from that, we are also selecting the world championship team,” said their coach, Thom Glielmi.
As for the women’s, USA gymnastics is trying to give itself a makeover of sorts.
They’ve brought in two well-known teammates from the 2008 Games who have lived it at the highest level.
Alicia Sacramone Quinn and Chellsie Memmel came out of retirement, so to speak, and are now part of a newly-formed leadership team focusing on modernizing the sport artistically, mentally and emotionally.
“The athletes look at us and they’re like, ‘they walked in their shoes, they know what it takes,” she said Sacramone Quinn. “Whether it’s recovering from an injury, or you didn’t get selected for a competition, the feelings that come with any of those things. We’ve lived it, we know.”
“My goal for, not even just for the elite world, but everyone who steps into this sport, to have a positive experience, and get out what they want to get. If their goal is to make the national team, compete at a championship, go to an Olympic games, I want to support that,” said Memmel.
That national team will be comprised of six juniors and 10 seniors.
Source: NBC Bay Area