Flipping into town
Olympic champ Suni Lee and 3 Tokyo teammates return to North Texas for NCAA Gymnastics Championship
Olympic all-around champion Sunisa Lee and three of her silver-medalist teammates from last summer's Tokyo Games — Jordan Chiles, Jade Carey, and Grace McCallum — are coming to North Texas to compete (against each other, this time) in the NCAA Women’s National Collegiate Gymnastics Championship. The meet takes place April 14-16 at Dickies Arena in Fort Worth.
According to NBC Sports, Lee will be the first Olympic all-around medalist to compete in NCAA gymnastics. She'll lead the Auburn Tigers against seven other teams: Alabama, Oklahoma, Florida, Minnesota, Michigan, Missouri, and Utah. McCallum competes for Utah.
While their schools didn't make the national championships, Chiles (UCLA) and Carey (Oregon State) will compete individually.
Chiles, who contributed to Team USA's silver medal after teammate Simone Biles withdrew for medical reasons in Tokyo, will compete in floor exercise and uneven bars. As an honorary Texan who trained alongside Biles in the Houston area, she'll no doubt have a big cheering section in Fort Worth.
Carey, who took home gold from Tokyo in floor exercise, will compete in the individual all-around competition.
The remaining two Tokyo teammates, Biles and MyKayla Skinner, are not competing.
It's a return trip to Fort Worth for the Team USA alumni, as they all competed with great success in the 2021 U.S. Gymnastics Championships at Dickies Arena last June. There, Biles won a record seventh title, followed by silver medalist Lee (2nd), Chiles (3rd), Carey (6th), and McCallum (7th).
Chiles, Carey, and McCallum then came back to Fort Worth again last fall on the high-flying Gold Over America Tour. (Lee was busy competing on Dancing with the Stars.)
This is the second major gymnastics event to be held in North Texas this year. The The USA Gymnastics 2022 Winter Cup took place in February in Frisco.
More than 30,000 spectators are expected to attend the two-day event, which includes semifinals (April 14) and championship (April 16), according to a release. Both semifinals will be broadcast live on ESPN2, and championship final competition will be broadcast live on ABC, according to NCAA.com.
The championship will call Fort Worth and Dickies Arena home through 2026.
“We look forward to hosting the 2022 NCAA Women’s National Collegiate Gymnastics Championship in Fort Worth,” said Jason Sands, Executive Director of the Fort Worth Sports Commission, in a statement. “We have grown this event over the years and are thrilled that Fort Worth is the destination for championship-level gymnastics competitions. We hope the community and fans will pack out Dickies Arena to support and cheer on these student-athletes.”
Single tickets for NCAA Gymnastics Championships (starting about $27) went on sale to the public on Wednesday, April 6. More information and tickets can be found here.