U.S. Gymnastics will likely be sending six athletes to compete at the Tokyo Olympics after Jade Carey announced her plans to accept her spot on the team as an individual event specialist.
In April, Carey earned her place at the Tokyo Games thanks to strong performances at four World Cup competitions starting in 2018.
She announced via social media on Tuesday that she is set to take that individual spot once it's officially offered to her, rather than pursue a team spot. Prior to the 21-year-old's decision, the United States was faced with the possibility of competing at the Olympic Games with fewer gymnasts than the maximum number. Had Carey earned a team member position during the Olympic trials later this month, the individual spot she secured could not be filled by another gymnast - and the U.S. would only be allowed to send five women to compete in Tokyo.
For previous Olympic Summer Games, gymnastics teams consisted of five members. The decision to reduce to four was made in 2015 by the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) as a way to narrow the competitive gap for smaller countries. In Tokyo, countries will be able to compete with four team members and two individual spots.
"I'm really excited to be heading to St. Louis next week. I have every intention to accept the individual spot that I worked very hard to earn by competing in the Apparatus World Cup Series spanning from 2018-2020 when officially offered to me," Carey said in her announcement on Instagram. "My focus right now is preparing to compete at the Olympic Games in Tokyo and being able to contribute to Team USA in any way possible. Thank you for your continued support."
Despite her decision, Carey is still expected to compete at the trials.
The Olympic team will be named at the U.S. trials from June 24 to 27 in St. Louis, Missouri. Two team member spots will be given to the first and second all-around finishers at the trials while the remaining spots will be selected by a committee. Expected to lead the pack are Simone Biles, Suni Lee, and Jordan Chiles, who finished top three at the U.S. Championships earlier this month.
To learn more about all the Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls, visit TeamUSA.org. Watch the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics this summer on NBC.