Simone Biles Will Compete, and Helped Jade Carey Prepare for Gold
After failing to win a medal in vault on Sunday, Jade Carey returned to the US gymnastics team hotel and looked for ways to shake off her disappointment. With one more event to go in these Tokyo Games, the floor exercise, she needed to bounce back and quickly.
Advice from teammate Simone Biles helped.
“Let him go and get on with it,” Carey recalls telling him as Biles. “It happened and there is nothing you can do about it.”
On Monday, in a floor exercise final more complex than her peers, Carey took Biles’ advice and made her way to Olympic gold like there was no pressure on her. Italy’s Vanessa Ferrari won silver and two gymnasts tied for bronze: Japanese Mai Murakami and Russian Angelina Melnikova.
A day later, Biles is about to take his own advice.
After retiring from most of her events at these Olympics due to mental health issues, Biles will compete in the beam final on Tuesday, her last possible event in Tokyo. USA Gymnastics announced Biles’ decision on Monday just before the start of the floor exercise final.
“We are delighted to confirm that you will see two American athletes in the beam final tomorrow – Suni Lee AND Simone Biles !! I can’t wait to see you both! USA Gymnastics said in an emailed statement.
Biles, who had qualified for all four apparatus finals at those Games, chose to skip Sunday’s floor exercises final, vault and uneven bars finals as well as the all-around final, after s ‘be withdrawn from the team final last week after its start.
In that team final, she performed a 1½ jump instead of 2½ twists, then quickly withdrew from the rest of the competition, later claiming it would have been too dangerous for her to try to perform. his daring routines. She explained that she was struggling with a mental block that caused her to lose the ability to assess where she was in the air relative to the ground.
Her teammates continued without her and the team ended the night with a silver medal. It was the first time in more than a decade that the American team did not win the team final at the Olympics or the world championships.
“I literally can’t tell the top from the bottom,” Biles wrote in an Instagram story last week. “It’s the craziest feeling ever. Not having an inch of control over your body.
Biles, the four-time Olympic gold medalist, wrote that she “really can’t figure out how to twist” and was training at a local Tokyo gym to try and get her skills back on track. It was both scary and disappointing, she said, explaining that her body wasn’t doing what her brain would tell it.
Tuesday’s competition gives Biles mind and body yet another formal chance to work together at these Games. If she finished first in the beam competition, it would be a redemption for her performance in the beam final at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games, where she faltered and finished third to win the bronze medal.
Tuesday’s competition could also be something more than just an opportunity for another prize for Biles, who is already the sport’s most decorated gymnast. It could be his farewell greeting.
Biles, 24, is considering retiring, but has hinted she could return as a jumping specialist at the 2024 Games in Paris, to honor her French coaches. Still, life outside of the gym calls her, and she said she can’t wait to start the next chapter – one outside of the gym, with no pressure. Certainly without the kind of pressure Carey felt on Monday in the floor exercises final, where she had one last chance to win a gold medal at those Olympics.
Carey, 21, from Phoenix, has traveled the world with his father, Brian, who is his coach, to qualify for these Summer Games thanks to his World Cup results. This Olympic spot did not allow him to compete with the American team in the team competition, but it did give him the chance to win individual events.
She qualified for the finals in vault and floor exercise. Her performance in the vault final left her devastated.
Carey tripped while preparing for her first jump and was forced to simplify the skill she had planned to do. His low score on that jump ruined his medal chances. She left the competition in tears.
“Yesterday was really tough for me,” Carey said on Monday, calling it “kind of a blur”. She said her American teammates, especially Simone Biles, gave her a pep talk when she returned to the team’s hotel. But for the most part, she wanted to be alone, so she grabbed some food and went to her room to eat on her own.
On Monday morning, her father sat her down to discuss the situation. He told her, “Yesterday was one of the worst days of your life, but today can be one of the best days of your life.” It turns out he was right.
Jade Carey came to the floor exercise final with a clear head and a willingness to do her best.
“For tonight, I just had to let it go,” she said.
In her last performance in Tokyo, Carey easily eliminated double flips with double twists and ended her routine with a double back flip with full twist.
She called it “the best floor routine I have ever done in my life.”
After realizing she had won, Carey gave her father a big hug as her American teammates, including Biles, cheered loudly from the stands. The day before, the father and daughter had kissed on the competition field, but out of sadness.
But this time, minutes before Jade Carey slipped the Olympic gold medal onto her neck, they hugged each other in glee.
“Having my dad here with me is really special,” she said. “It’s everything we ever dreamed of.
Maggie Astor contributed reports.
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