A Team USA Guide to the 2022 Gymnastics World Championships
This upcoming weekend, the top names in gymnastics are meeting in Liverpool, Great Britain for the 2022 Gymnastics World Championships.
As one of the top names in gymnastics, the USA is looking strong going into this International meet filled with Olympians and previous World Champion medalists.
Just this past Sunday, five athletes and one traveling alternate headed off to Liverpool to represent the USA. Let’s look into who they are and who their top competition will be.
Meet Team USA
This team was selected at the World Selection Camp that was held over the last week. The top-scoring athlete after one day of competition was automatically granted a spot on the team. This year, that was Shilese Jones.
Shilese Jones is the 2022 USA National Championship all-around silver medalist and gold medalist on the uneven bars and floor exercise. She was also on the gold medal-winning team at the 2018 Pan American Championships. Jones recently won gold on the uneven bars and silver on the floor exercise at the Paris World Challenge Cup just last month.
Jones is joined by two Olympians: Jade Carey and Jordan Chiles. Carey is the 2020 Olympic Champion on the floor exercise and an Olympic finalist on the vault. She also holds numerous World, USA National, and Pan American medals in team, vault, and floor events. More recently, she won gold on the vault and silver on the floor at the Paris World Challenge Cup.
Jordan Chiles is a 2020 Olympic silver medalist in the team event, and she is the 2022 US National Championship bronze medalist in the all-around. She has been a member of the US women’s national gymnastics team since 2013. Chiles also succeeded at the Challenge Cup last month, earning gold on the floor and silver on the vault.
Leanne Wong, a 2021 World all-around silver medalist and the 2022 USA National Champion on the uneven bars, is also joining the team. She’s been on the US National Team since 2017.
Taking the fifth and final spot on the set team is Skye Blakely, the 2021 American Classic all-around gold medalist. Blakely is the youngest member of this team at only 17-years-old but proved herself this past week posting extremely high scores and boasting consistent performance throughout the weekend.
The alternate athlete is Lexi Zeiss, a team silver medalist at the 2022 Pan American Championships. Zeiss will travel with the team to Liverpool and be prepared to take a spot on the team if one of the five-set team members cannot compete.
Notably missing from this team is Konnor McClain, the 2022 USA National Champion on the all-around. Sadly, McClain didn’t attend the Worlds training camp because she is stepping back from competing to handle a back injury. We wish her a speedy, full recovery!
The USA women’s team has won the last five team gold medals at the World Championships and are looking for their sixth straight.
Some of the toughest competition that this team will face is from Brazil, most prominently, 2020 Olympic silver medalist in the all-around and gold medalist on the vault, Rebeca Andrade. Alongside experienced two-time Olympian teammate Flavia Saraiva, they have made Brazil a gymnastics powerhouse. Earlier this year, Brazil beat Team USA for the team gold at the Pan American Championships.
The last major event with this slate of top-of-the-world gymnasts was the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games held in 2021, where the Russian Olympic Committee beat the USA. Without any athletes from Russia being permitted to compete this weekend, it will truly be a show-off between Brazil and the USA.
Great Britain’s team, who placed third behind the USA in the team event at the last Olympic Games remains competitive too. The team heading to Liverpool is made up of Olympian twins Jessica and Jennifer Gadirova, Olympian Alice Kinsella, and Ondine Achampong and Georgia-Mae Fenton, who are both medalists at various European and Commonwealth Games. Other powerhouse gymnastics nations are also in the mix, including China, Italy, and Germany.
In addition to the team event, the USA’s gymnasts are also looking for podium placements on the apparatus events. On top of being a challenger for the team event, Andrade and Saraiva are expected to do extremely well in the individual apparatus events, too. Other names to know going into Liverpool are Zsofia Kovacs of Hungary, Asia D’Amato and Martina Maggio of Italy, the Gadirova twins of the Great Britain team, and Nina Derwael of Belgium.
Kovacs is a two-time Olympian, the 2020 European champion on the uneven bars, and the 2020 and 2022 European champion on the vault. D’Amato and Maggio were on the Italian teams that won gold at the Europeans this year and bronze at the last World Championships. The Gadirova twins of Great Britain are known for their floor routines, with Jennifer winning bronze at the Paris World Challenge Cup last month and Jessica winning gold in the event at this year's European Championships for her second consecutive time. Nina Derwael is the reigning Olympic champion on the uneven bars, will also be in attendance and expected to put up high numbers on her best apparatus.
Regardless of the results, this World Championships will truly be a display of the best gymnastics in the world right now and we’re excited!
The 2022 Gymnastics World Championships will begin with qualifications on Saturday, October 29. The team and individual event finals will take place starting Nov. 1 with the last day of competition ending on Nov. 6.