2024 Paris Olympics

Olympic gymnast Jordan Chiles reveals the ‘craziest thing that's ever happened' to her

“I think that’s the most craziest thing that’s ever happened in my life," Chiles, a member of the silver medal-winning women’s artistic gymnastic team at the 2020 Tokyo Games, told NBC Chicago

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On her way to potentially securing her return to the U.S. Olympic team, gymnast Jordan Chiles was a part of something big -- so big in fact, the former Olympic gymnast calls it the "craziest" thing that's ever happened to her.

Chiles, a member of the silver medal-winning women’s artistic gymnastic team at the 2020 Tokyo Games, recently competed in the first two meets leading up to the Paris Games- the Core Hydration Classic and the Xfinity Gymnastics Championships.

At the Core Hydration Classic in Hartford, Chiles placed third all around, making history in an all-around podium with all Black athletes for the second time in a row this season.

“I’ve been a part of both,” Chiles said. “I think that’s the most craziest thing that’s ever happened in my life.”

Chiles went on to say she’s glad to see people recognizing not just the gymnasts at the top, but also the talent that’s been given to them.

Chiles noted that her second time atop a historic podium signaled something even bigger -- emphasizing the talent that secured their spots and foreshadowing even more to come.

“It's not over. It's not just going to be a two-time thing. It's going to be a constant,” Chiles said.

Reflecting on her life growing up as a gymnast in Oregon, Chiles said if she saw an all-Black podium as a younger gymnast, she would have been in more awe than ever.

“I would have been like ‘OK, so this is what it can be like. I can be on a podium with other girls who look just like me. That’s crazy. So I’m going to work harder,’” Chiles said.

Chiles explained she wants the younger generation of gymnasts to have the attitude of, “if they can do it, I can do it.”

“We are who we are for a reason. It will be a forever thing,” Chiles said.

After the Tokyo Olympics, Chiles headed to UCLA to compete as college gymnast, where she became a two-time NCAA champion and a Pac-12 champion.

“I can definitely say that experience was something that I won’t forget,” Chiles said. “I did enjoy wearing those four letters across my chest.”

While some gymnasts like Jade Carrey and Leanne Wong are continuing to compete in college gymnastics while training for the Olympics, Chiles decided to leave college this year to focus on the Olympic cycle.

“I did decide to take the year to focus on my elite career,” Chiles said. “Focusing on one thing and one goal is the biggest thing I could’ve done within my life.”

According to Chiles, college gave her a different perspective of what gymnastics is supposed to look like and inspired her to bring the “fun” aspect of gymnastics into the elite world.

Whether it be running to give someone a high five, dancing, or throwing her flowers into the audience, Chiles said having fun and getting the crowd involved puts her at ease.

“People will always tell me, ‘Where was this Jordan?’ This Jordan has always been here. It was just never shown because I wasn’t allowed to. I had to be silent. So when I was finally able to embrace it, it’s like, ‘I’m here, hi, nice to meet you,’” Chiles said.

Chiles described her training for Paris so far as a “whirlwind,” but since she’s been through an Olympic cycle before, she knows what works for her and what doesn’t. She now trains at World Champions Centre in Spring, Texas, alongside Simone Biles.

Although she said she’s hoping to make the Olympic team, Chiles said if she doesn’t, she’ll still know that she gave it her all.

“I did this for myself,” Chiles said. “I’m going to walk away from this year as if nothing ever happened, and just be proud of myself. And if I do make that team, then it’s just going to be another Olympics.”

According to Chiles, her first Olympics didn’t go as planned, and 2024 would be way better than the first.

“I definitely think I’d be more proud than ever,” Chiles said.

Chiles is one of four returning Olympians competing for a spot on the team for Paris- a team with only five spots total.

In addition to the returning 2020 Olympic gymnasts - Chiles, Jade Carrey, Simone Biles, and Sunisa Lee - there are several new rising stars. Chiles described the competition this year as “something else,” and a show people will need popcorn and a drink in their hand for.

Chiles said the returning Olympians are coming back because they know they have more to give, and it's important for the younger girls to see.

“These competitions aren’t just how they were before,” Chiles said. “These are full on shows. We’re going to give you a show. This is a true competition for sure.”

Chiles will compete in the Olympic Trials, the final meet before the selection of the Olympic team, on June 28 and June 30 in Minneapolis.

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