Tokyo 2020 was already set to be an Olympics like no other, but for American gymnasts Jordan Chiles and Grace McCallum, stepping up when star Simone Biles pulled out of the team final added another layer of pressure to their Games experience.
“I know we all felt really bad for Simone because we know how hard she worked to get here and all the extra years she put into it,” McCallum told CNN’s Coy Wire.
“It was good that she came up to us and said, ‘You know what, you’ve got this, I believe in you guys, you can do it.’ And that was really reassuring and I think that’s what gave us a good start for the rest of the competition, ”said McCallum.
Chiles, who was encouraged to return to the sport by Biles, knew it was time for her to shine.
“We knew we had to turn on our flip, turn on the light basically like, ‘Okay look, guys, we’ve got this, we know how to do it,’” Chiles told CNN.
“We’ve been working our butt since we were little at this point. And we just had to do what we had to do. “
The United States went on to take silver in the team finals, while other members of the United States team also enjoyed success in the individual events – Sunisa Lee won all-around gold individual as well as a bronze medal on bars, Jade Carey took home gold in floor practice and MyKayla Skinner won silver on vault.
Now Biles is finally back for the balance beam final on Tuesday.
” SO STRONG! That’s exactly how Chiles and McCallum will cheer on Biles tonight.
“She is truly an inspiration. She works so hard in the gym. She always pushes us. She always encourages us. I mean, you really couldn’t ask for a better model. She’s just an amazing person, ”McCallum said.
“She’s not a coward at all,” Chiles said, adding that no matter what, she will always be the GOAT. “She will always be Simone Biles. She will always be loved by all of America, she will represent herself better than before.