The final step to fill out the U.S. Women’s Olympic Gymnastics Team begins Friday night in St. Louis.
The top two finishers automatically qualify for Team USA’s four-woman squad for the team event, and the final two members will be selected by committed. The U.S. has two additional individual spots, one of which was already clinched by Jade Carey, and another that will be selected by committee.
Simone Biles, obviously, is expected to clinch the first automatic berth. She’s one of the most dominant athletes in sports today and should cruise to the top spot.
But who will join her? There are two main candidates: 2019 World Championships medalist Sunisa Lee and Jordan Chiles, Biles’ teammate at the World Champions Centre.
Lee was the only gymnast other than Biles to win an individual title at the U.S. Championships, taking second overall, and won three medals at Worlds. Chiles is having a breakout year, winning the Winter Cup in February, then taking second at the U.S. Classic and third at Nationals.
The fourth- through ninth-place finishers at the U.S. Championships were separated by less than a point, however, leaving the No. 4 spot on the Olympic team wide open.
Carey is likely out of the running, though. She qualified for the Games as an individual before emerging as a potential team contender, and after she finished sixth at Nationals, debate arose as to what would happen if she put up a stronger finish at Trials. Carey somewhat quashed the speculation last week by saying she has "every intention" of accepting the individual spot, but there could be some chaos in store if she pulled an upset and finished in the No. 2 spot.
MyKayla Skinner is the only competitor this week outside of Biles with Olympic Trials experience. Skinner, the oldest woman in the field, was an Olympic alternate in 2016.
Riley McCusker is considered a favorite for the remaining open individual spot. McCusker is only competing on bars and beam at Trials after injuring her ankle on vault at the U.S. Classic.
Other names to watch include Kara Eaker, Grace McCallum, Emma Malabuyo, Kayla DiCello and Leanne Wong.
Carey, Wong, Skinner and Eaker begin Day 1 competition on vault, while McCallum, Malabuyo, DiCello, Lee, Chiles and Biles start on the uneven bars.