The United States women’s gymnastics team is apparently changing its strategy a little before Tuesday’s team final.
After a difficult stage in qualifying, Jordan Chiles will not participate in all four events as Team USA competes for a gold medal. Instead, Grace McCallum will participate in four events, while Chiles will compete in only two, as Reports from USA Today’s Nancy Armor.
McCallum will effectively replace Chiles on the uneven bars and on the balance beam. Chiles was expected to run those two events, consistently scoring higher than McCallum throughout the year, but instead Chiles will compete only on the floor and on the vault.
It is unclear what prompted this change, but Chiles’ disappointing performance in qualifying cannot be ignored. He finished 40th in the overall ranking of 80 competitors who completed Sunday’s events. Her score of 52,698 was boosted by a 13th place on the floor, but she fell off the balance beam and posted a mark of 11,566, tied for 76th among the 90 gymnasts who participated in that event.
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Meanwhile, McCallum finished 13th in all respects with a score of 55,165 and finished no less than 32nd in any of his events (beam). Now, she will be under heavy scrutiny as she was chosen for the last spot on the 2021 Olympic team despite MyKayla Skinner having higher scoring potential.
USA Gymnastics previously explained the decision to go with McCallum about Skinner in a statement.
“Grace demonstrated consistency and endurance during the two days of competition in the Olympic trials, reaching all eight routines,” the governing body wrote, according to Deseret News. “In addition, his past international experience and his success as a member of the teams that won the gold medal at the 2018 and 2019 World Championships contributed to the final decision of the committee.”
Additionally, USA Gymnastics noted that Skinner had a higher chance of winning an individual medal than McCallum.
Ultimately, Skinner finished 11th overall, 0.233 points ahead of McCallum, but was unable to qualify for any of the individual event finals.
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Final lineup of the USA women’s gymnastics team
Below are the events each gymnast on Team USA is expected to participate in during Tuesday’s eight-team final. Only three of the four gymnasts per team can participate in each event.
|Floor||Simone Biles, Grace McCallum and Jordan Chiles|
|Vault||Simone Biles, Grace McCallum and Jordan Chiles|
|Uneven bars||Simone Biles, Grace McCallum and Suni Lee|
|make||Simone Biles, Grace McCallum and Suni Lee|