Who is Jade Carey? Meet the gymnast who stands in for Simone Biles in the Olympic all-around finals


Jade Carey finished ninth in the women’s all-around qualification Gymnastics competition at the Olympics, behind two of their teammates. But on Thursday she will fight for a medal – to replace Simone Biles.

One day after to leave from Tuesday’s team final, Biles backed up from Thursday’s all-round individual competition to focus on their mental wellbeing, USA Gymnastics said. The defending champion had said earlier this week that she felt “the weight of the world” on her shoulders at the games.

The organization said in a statement on Wednesday that “after further medical examination,” 24-year-old Biles had decided not to attend “to focus on her mental health.”

Now Jade Carey takes her place for Team USA.

Jade Carey competes in the vault during the women’s qualification at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics on July 25, 2021.

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The 21-year-old was initially unable to qualify as she was the third-placed American behind Biles and 18-year-old Sunisa Lee. She would have qualified with her ninth place, but the rules of the International Gymnastics Federation limit the countries to two athletes per competition in the final.

Carey, who hails from Phoenix, Arizona, has secured her place at the Games in a unique way. She won gold in the jumping and flooring competitions at the 2020 Melbourne World Cup, as well as the 2019 Doha World Cup and Baku World Cup, and secured her spot in Tokyo thanks to a new rule that is completely separate from the USA Gymnastics selection process.

She postponed enrollment in Oregon State to train and compete in the World Cup Series leading up to the Olympics.

“I had my breakthrough after the 2017 World Cup,” she said. “Winning silver in the vault and ground really boosted my confidence and made me realize that the Olympics are something I can achieve.”

Gymnastics - Artistic - Olympics: Day 2
Sunisa Lee and Jade Carey punch during women’s qualification at Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on July 25, 2021.

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Carey was scheduled to compete in both the jumping and floor singles competitions next week, but she wasn’t a member of the four-man American team that placed silver behind the Russian Olympic Committee on Tuesday. But now that she has a place in the all-around competition, she is a contender for medals.

In qualifying, Carey scored 15,166 on the jump, 14,133 on the uneven bars, 12,866 on the balance beam and 14,100 on the floor. She was second in the jump and third in the ground.

On Instagram she called it “the beginning of the experience of her life”.

Carey is able to landing the toughest tumbling pass ever made by a woman – a layout triple-double. If she lands it successfully at the Games, it will be named after her.

Not even Biles tried the move in the competition. The floor exercise skill includes a roundoff, a series of handsprings, two backflips, and three twists.

Most parents watch their children from home, but Carey’s father Brian Carey is by their side as a coach in Tokyo.

“We went through everything together. The ups, the downs, the good the bad,” she wrote to her father on Instagram last year. “You showed me how to spread my wings and believe in myself. I can’t wait to end our journey, we’re almost there.”

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