Gymnast Grace McCallum's 'Childhood Dreams Became a Reality' at Tokyo Olympics, Her Parents Say

·3 min read
Grace McCallum
Grace McCallum

Grace McCallum is living out her childhood dream.

The gymnast, 18, is one of four women on the U.S. team competing in the all-around finals on Tuesday at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre in Tokyo. On Sunday, the Simone Biles-led team, also featuring Jordan Chiles and Sunisa Lee, had a shaky start in their quest for gold at the Summer Games. After the preliminary round, the four-member American squad is in second place with a score of 170.562. Russia leads with 1.067 points ahead.

The Minnesota native had great routines on vault, earning a score of 14.533, and on uneven bars, scoring 14.100. However, she stepped out of bounds on floor and struggled on beam. McCallum will not be competing for any individual medal on Thursday.

While the ladies competed in a mostly empty venue, McCallum had plenty of support back in the States and in her hometown of Isanti.

"We were able to watch our daughter become an Olympian surrounded by friends and family. It was a surreal moment," Grace's parents, Sandy and Ed McCallum, tell PEOPLE.

"Her childhood dreams became a reality. After all the highs and lows that come along with this sport we are beyond proud of her for never giving up on her dreams, especially after having surgery on her hand at the end of January of this year," the proud mom and dad say.

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Grace McCallum
Grace McCallum

The athlete underwent hand surgery in January for a boxer's fracture in her pinky, which she suffered after jamming her fingers when she was practicing on the beam. Then, she got an infection in her pinky and pulled a muscle in her fingers. At the Olympic trials in June, the University of Utah student finished in fourth place behind Biles, Lee and Chiles, and was selected as a team member.

"Grace we love you and are beyond proud of you," the McCallums tell PEOPLE in a message to their daughter ahead of the all-around team final.

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On Monday, McCallum told her fans on Instagram that she's been "enjoying every moment and ready to give it my all tomorrow."

Biles, the reigning Olympic all-around champion, and Lee will be the two qualifiers to the all-around from Team USA. Both are also at the top of the all-around standings with Biles, despite her errors, earning 57.731 and Lee finishing with 57.166.

Biles, who also made the event finals in vault, floor, bars and beam and could win a record five golds, leads on vault with a score of 15.183. The individual all-around final is set for Thursday, two days after the team all-around final.

To learn more about Team USA, visit TeamUSA.org. Watch the Tokyo Olympics now on NBC.

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