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America’s Golden Girls return to the competition floor: Recapping the Core Hydration Classic gymnastics competition

Written By: Alyssa Klauminzer

Edited By: Bailey Massey

Gabby Douglas, Simone Biles, and Suni Lee, Courtesy of NBC News

For the first time, three Olympic gymnastics all-around champions competed at the same venue.

On May 18, Suni Lee, Simone Biles, and Gabby Douglas competed at the Core Hydration Classic in Hartford Conn. All three gymnasts are hoping to make the Olympic team, and are making the journey there nothing short of exciting.

Simone Biles, competing in her first meet since the World Championship in the fall, won the all-around, vault, and floor exercise titles. Biles received the highest vault score by over a point, competing the Biles II, a Yurchenko double pike, without a spotter, which cost her .500 at the World Championship. Entering her Reputation Era, Biles uses “...Ready For It?” as part of her floor music for her 2024 campaign. Her floor routine consists of both the Biles, a double layout with a half twist, and the Biles II, a triple-double, and is full of smiles.

Suni Lee, the reigning Olympic all-around champion, competed on vault, beam, and floor, and won the beam title. Lee looked as elegant as ever on her three events, and still has a difficult uneven bars routine to debut. Should Lee make the Olympic team (and hopefully she does to earn a long-awaited gold medal on bars!), and debut a full twisting Jaeger on bars, the skill would be named after her.

Gabby Douglas, the 2012 Olympic gold medalist in the all-around, made her second appearance since the 2016 Olympics. Douglas scratched from the meet after struggles on bars (though something had to be up with the equipment, nearly everyone looked off on bars). She will be competing at the Xfinity U.S. Gymnastics Championships in Fort Worth, Texas from May 30 to June 2, qualifying on vault, bars, and beam.

Coming off of three Worlds medals, Shilese Jones claimed the bars title and the silver medal in the all-around. Defying defeat and loss, in her personal life and at the last Olympic Trials, Jones’ consistency, grace, and resilience has all but officially earned her spot on the Olympic team.

Jordan Chiles, a star for UCLA and a member of the silver medal-winning 2020 Olympic team, is making her case to make her second Olympics. A consistent all-arounder and always seen cheering for everyone when she’s not competing, Chiles should not be counted out in making one of the five Olympic spots.

Jade Carey, Oregon State standout and the reigning Olympic gold medalist on floor is also proving she should earn another shot at the Olympics. In the 2020 Olympics, Carey competed as an individual (there will be no individual spots in this Olympics), and is looking to make her first Olympic team. With her strength on vault and floor and Lee’s strength on bars and beam, it is possible for the two of them to make the team along with three strong all-arounders. 

Gators gymnasts Leanne Wong and Kayla DiCello, and future Gator and Wong’s 2023 Worlds teammate Skye Blakely, all competing in the all-around, are also looking for spots on the Olympic team to hopefully win team titles with both the USA and their NCAA team. 

These competitors will make a return at the National Championship at the end of the month, as well as the Olympic Trials for gymnastics taking place June 27-30 in Minneapolis. The gymnast with the highest all-around score at Trials will have an automatic spot on the Olympic team. In contrast, the other four spots will be decided upon by the USA Gymnastics selection committee after the competition. With the amount of talent displayed at meets this year, the inspiration from athletes competing long past the retirement age of gymnasts even a decade ago, and the resilience of gymnasts competing through hardships, I am thankful I don’t have to make the decisions for the team.

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