What to watch for at USA Gymnastics trials

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With USA Gymnastics Olympic Team Trials set to get underway Friday, here’s what to look out for as the team starts to take shape.

Can Simone Biles beat herself?

Biles has not lost an all-around gold medal since 2013, when she was first eligible for senior level competition. The star dominates every time she competes, often debuting new moves that have only ever been done by Biles herself. But those moves don’t always score her higher, as judges seem afraid of enticing other gymnasts to try them. Regardless, Biles is determined to keep moves like the Yurchenko double pike in her lineup. 

To many, the Olympic Trials for Biles may seem more like a formality, a final tuneup before the big stage and a penultimate performance in Tokyo. But soak it in — this could be the last time Biles competes domestically, and there’s no guaranteeing when a talent like hers could come around again. 

“Fabulous Five” no more

A change in the roster sizes means that only four people will be selected for the team event in Tokyo, one less than the five-person roster that was taken to Rio in 2016. While the roster size will return to five for Paris in 2024, it was too late to make the change for this year’s Olympics, and now head coach Tom Forster and the selection committee have a tough task ahead of them.

Half of the battle is off their plate, as the first and second place all-around finishers at U.S. Olympic Trials make the team (meaning it’s likely Simone Biles and whoever finishes behind her). The other two spots are up for grabs, and any one of the talented gymnasts in the field could make a serious run at an Olympic spot.

Next in line

After Simone Biles, who takes the second spot? The third? The fourth? That much is unknown. 

Two women, Sunisa “Suni” Lee and Jordan Chiles, are seemingly considered to be locks for the team roster. At U.S. Nationals a few weeks ago, Lee finished in second place all-around — ranking first on the uneven bars and second on beam — to stake her claim on a roster spot. Meanwhile, Chiles is Biles’ training partner and earned a silver all-around in the U.S. Classics and bronze all-around at U.S. Nationals. 

After that, it’s anybody’s game. Grace McCallum helped Team USA earn two World Championship titles in 2018 and 2019 but had hand surgery earlier this year. Emma Malabuyo is coming off of an incredible showing at U.S. Nationals while MyKayla Skinner looks to fully qualify for the team this year after being an alternate in Rio. 

Jade Carey has already earned one of the two individual spots, meaning that only one other spot is then up for grabs. Look for Riley McCusker or MyKayla Skinner to take that spot in the event that either one isn’t given a team spot.

Day 1 of the women’s competition will take place Friday, June 25 at 8:00 p.m. on NBC while the final day of competition will begin Sunday, June 27 at 8:30 p.m. on NBC (all times ET). The event will also be streamed live on Peacock.