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Black Girl Magic Reigned Supremed at the 2024 US Gymnastics Olympic Team Trials

MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA – JUNE 30: Jordan Chiles and Simone Biles celebrate after being selected for the 2024 U.S. Olympic Women’s Gymnastics Team on Day Four of the 2024 U.S. Olympic Team Gymnastics Trials at Target Center on June 30, 2024 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
All roads lead to Paris, France for the 2024 Olympic Games. But for 15 women vying for a shot on the five-person USA roster—with two alternates—they first had to leave it all on the mat in Minneapolis, Minnesota for the 2024 U.S. Artistic Gymnastics Olympic team trials. Despite the pressure the nation’s top gymnasts were under, and a series of devastating injuries, Black girl magic reigned supreme throughout the two days of competition. And yes, ESSENCE was seated in Target Center for all the action.
MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA – JUNE 30: (L-R) Jordan Chiles, Zoey Molomo and Simone Biles cheer for Jade Carey during her routine in the floor exercise on Day Four of the 2024 U.S. Olympic Team Gymnastics Trials at Target Center on June 30, 2024 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
On Friday, June 28, 2024, the women’s trials started off with lots of jitters and nerves, as expected. Just days before the event, Skye Blakely ruptured her Achilles tendon during the team podium training. A favorite for many, she was honored with an emotional standing ovation during the opening night. No less than an hour into the event, two other ladies suffered serious injuries, including Shilese Jones, another top contender slated to earn a spot as well. Without knowing the true severity of her injury, Jones pushed through her uneven bars routine and earned the highest score on the apparatus of the night. Visibly in pain and her knee wrapped most of the evening, she stuck her dismount with a smile, which brought her mother to tears in the stands.
After being checked by the team doctor later that night, she was forced to make the heartbreaking decision to officially withdraw from the competition.
With such major losses (Kayla DiCello also ruptured her Achilles on night one), even Simone Biles experienced a few early hiccups. But in true Black girl magic form, she got her head back in the game, and we were able to see exactly why they call her the GOAT. Her vaults literally defied the laws of gravity, and her powerful tumble passes rendered us speechless. Being able to witness the most decorated gymnast in history (man or woman) up-close-and-personal is a core memory we’ll certainly never forget.
MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA – JUNE 30: Simone Biles competes in the floor exercise on Day Four of the 2024 U.S. Olympic Team Gymnastics Trials at Target Center on June 30, 2024 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
For most of the opening night, Biles along with her Tokyo Olympics teammate, Jordan Chiles, dominated the leaderboard, holding the number one and two spots respectively at the end of night one. And Louisiana State University (LSU) gymnast Kaliya Lincoln put on noteworthy performances, too.
“I was definitely feeling very nervous coming in, this is my first Olympic trials. But, I had to remind myself that it’s me versus me,” Lincoln told ESSENCE exclusively after day one of trials “I had to remember to focus on me, my gymnastics and what I can do while taking it one routine and skill at a time.”
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – JUNE 26: Kaliya Lincoln practices on the balance beam in the Women’s U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Team Trials podium training session on June 26, 2024 at Target Center in Minneapolis, MN. (Photo by Matt Blewett/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Beyoncé, GloRilla and Meg the Stallion at trials— in spirit
If you’ve followed Jordan Chiles for any amount of time, you’ll quickly come to know that in addition to being a world-class gymnast, our good sis is also a phenomenal dancer. During the event, she could be spotted in between her routines either rooting the other ladies on during their routines or randomly breaking out the latest TikTok dances flawlessly.
When it came to her floor exercise routine, she absolutely put on for Black girls (and women) everywhere. With a Beyoncé compilation consisting of sped-up tracks from “Renaissance” and other classic albums serving as the backdrop, the UCLA student athlete not only tumbled like the rent was due, but she also added in some of Queen Bey’s iconic moves, too.
“The whole time I was getting ready, we were vibing and listening to music. Megan, Beyoncé, GloRilla—every girl artist right now you can think of was popping up. So I was like, okay, you know what? If these women can slay like this, I can go out there and slay like them,” Chiles told the media during our post-event press conference with the star. “So what I came in to do today was just have fun and vibe with everybody.”
Biles snuck in a few nods to Queen Bey during her floor routine as well.
MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA – JUNE 28: Jordan Chiles competes in the floor exercise on Day Two of the 2024 U.S. Olympic Team Gymnastics Trials at Target Center on June 28, 2024 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Your 2024 U.S. Women’s Artistic Gymnastics Olympic Team
On Sunday, June 30, 2024, we reconvened at Minneapolis’ Target Center for the second and final night of the women’s trials. With a sellout crowd of 16,300 people, everyone was on the edge of their seats in anticipation of the naming of the 2024 team. But first, we had to make it through the four rotations.
It should be noted that when it comes to choosing the USA Gymnastics Olympic roster, the top five scores from trials don’t automatically earn a spot. While the highest scorer earns an automatic berth, the remaining spots take a little more analysis. A selection committee looks at a range of things including: their performances and scores over the entire competition season—including trials, how each woman performs on individual apparatuses and how individual skill sets can work together to give the U.S. the highest chance of winning medals during the Paris games. Based on this, there was no way of truly predicting the team, but we all knew that Simone “always making history” Biles would be there no matter what.
Day two came with a few early mistakes and falls, but by rotation three, everyone began to leave it on the floor—literally. Biles blasted into outer space, Chiles channeled her inner Sasha Fierce and the other Black women (Simone Rose, Hezla Rivera, Tiana Sumanasekera, Kaliya Lincoln, Simone Rose, and Zoey Molomo) gave it their all, too.
MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA – JUNE 30: Jordan Chiles celebrates after being selected for the 2024 U.S. Olympic Women’s Gymnastics Team on Day Four of the 2024 U.S. Olympic Team Gymnastics Trials at Target Center on June 30, 2024 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Nearly all the 15 ladies were moved to tears after completing their final event and realizing they had just given their best in one of the hardest meets of their careers. The crowd also gave standing ovations after seeing how intense the two-day competition was.
Much like night one, Biles dominated the leaderboard. In the end, she earned a top score of 117.225, which solidified her automatic ticket to Paris. This will be her third Olympic Games.
“Nobody is forcing me to do it. I wake up every day and choose to grind in the gym, then come out here and perform for myself, to remind myself that I can still do it. That is my why,” Biles told ESSENCE when asked what her why is at this stage in her career.
After about a 30-minute wait post-competition, the official team was announced in an emotional presentation. Jordan Chiles, Simone Biles, Hezla Rivera, Suni Lee and Jade Carey are your 2024 Team USA women’s Olympic gymnasts. Leanne Wong and Joscelyn Roberson will travel as team alternates. The women were presented to the crowd sporting matching all-white outfits and dawning a stunning white and blue bouquet of flowers.
MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA – JUNE 30: (L-R) Hezly Rivera, Joscelyn Roberson, Suni Lee, Simone Biles, Jade Carey, Jordan Chiles and Leanne Wong pose after being selected for the 2024 U.S. Olympic Women’s Gymnastics Team on Day Four of the 2024 U.S. Olympic Team Gymnastics Trials at Target Center on June 30, 2024 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Chiles broke down after being named to her second Olympic team. It’s been a tough journey, balancing elite gymnastics and her time as a gymnast at UCLA. Many counted her out, but she proved the naysayers wrong.
“It’s been a long journey, it’s been a long three years between college and elite,” she explained to ESSENCE after being named to her second Olympic team. “Hearing my name called was an awing moment to me because you never know what can happen. I’m just so proud of myself after everything I’ve gone through. The struggles I’ve gone through, the losses I’ve lost— I couldn’t be more proud of myself.”
Of course, being named to your first Olympic team is an accomplishment in itself, but Rivera (16) now also bears the title of the youngest member of Team USA of any sport traveling to Paris.
“When I heard my name, I was so surprised. I did the best that I could, and that was all I could do,” she told media during our press conference.
MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA – JUNE 30: Hezly Rivera reacts after being selected for the 2024 U.S. Olympic Women’s Gymnastics Team on Day Four of the 2024 U.S. Olympic Team Gymnastics Trials at Target Center on June 30, 2024 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
The only non-veteran on the new team, her father was visibly emotional as his baby’s name was called as a 2024 Olympian.
“My dad has been with me since the beginning, always supporting me since I was little,” Rivera dotted to ESSENCE when asked about her bond with her father. “It’s been so amazing having a father like him. He’s my hero and my rock.”
We couldn’t be more proud of the 2024 U.S. Women’s Artistic Gymnastics team as they head to Paris. Congratulations ladies!

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