Sport Jordan Chiles wins Winter Cup; Laurie Hernandez comes back
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Jordan Chiles won the Winter Cup, while Laurie Hernandez competed for the first time since the Rio Olympics in the first significant elite gymnastics meet in the U.S. in nearly one year.
Chiles, a 19-year-old who trains with Simone Biles, totaled 57.05 points at the Indianapolis Convention Center largely without spectators. She prevailed by 1.95 over Shilese Jones.
Some of the U.S.’ top gymnasts either weren’t at the meet — which U.S. high-performance team coordinator Tom Forster equated to a preseason football game — or chose to perform on fewer than four apparatuses.
Laurie Hernandez, at first gymnastics meet in 4 1/2 years, is back because she loves it
Laurie Hernandez competes in a gymnastics meet for the first time since the Rio Olympics at the Winter Cup on NBC Sports.“I’d like to see how [a meet] feels as an almost 21-year-old rather than competing at 16,” she told NBC Sports last week. “It’s going to be different, I’m well aware.
Biles passed. She’s expected to return for a World Cup in Tokyo in May, her first competition since the October 2019 World Championships.
Hernandez, in her first meet in four and a half years, had the fifth-highest score on balance beam (13.95) and was 11th on floor exercise (12.05), taking out some difficulty ahead of the more important spring and summer events.
“Super watered-down routines so we could dip my toe back in the water and get the feeling of what it feels like to compete again at such a high level,” Hernandez said on NBC. “It went really well.
“It [returning after years out of the gym] has really sucked for a long time, and then I’d say within the last couple months, things started to get a little bit better. I got more consistent. It felt more like home again.”
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Chiles, the 2017 U.S. all-around silver medalist, had the highest scores on vault (14.9) and floor (13.6) and tied for the best beam score (14.5). Chiles graduated high school in 2019 and deferred enrollment at UCLA for two years in a bid to make the Tokyo Olympic team.
“I think she looks better today than she did then [at 2017 Nationals],” NBC Sports analyst Tim Daggett said.
That Olympic roster, named after June’s trials, will be four women in the team event, plus two more for individual events only. Jade Carey clinched one of the individual spots last spring.
Sunisa Lee, the 2019 U.S. all-around silver medalist behind Biles, had Saturday’s highest score on uneven bars (15.05), her best event. She was also third on beam and didn’t perform on floor or vault.
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Friday 5: Could the pandemic impact future crew chief hires? .
NBC's Steve Letarte says: 'Engineers that perhaps would be the next step up — without the real in-the-battle experience, they might be passed over' for future crew chief jobs.Just as impactful, though, could be who will be Cup crew chiefs in the future. How those positions are filled could be changing as a result of these times.