A U.S. Classic gymnastics preview
The GIST: Collegiate gymnastics won’t start, ahem, meet-ing until January, but NCAAers also competing at the sport’s elite level are gearing up for a big year as the clock ticks closer to next summer’s Paris Olympics.
- One of the stops along the way? This weekend’s U.S. Classic, an annual summer meet featuring the best Americans on the mat.
The setup: There are multiple qualifying meets to make the USA Gymnastics National Championships, which occur later this month, but the U.S. Classic is one of the most important.
- In order to snag an invite to Nationals, senior elite gymnasts must have either been a member of the previous World Champ team or have earned minimum scores (based on number of events) at a qualifying national or international meet (like the U.S. Classic) in the 12 months prior.
Gymnasts to know: This weekend’s action is especially exciting because the sport’s veritable GOAT, Simone Biles, is returning to competition for the first time in two years, but a whole slate of NCAA talent will be vaulting alongside her. Some of the biggest names? Her Tokyo Games teammates: UCLA’s Jordan Chiles, Auburn’s Sunisa Lee, and Oregon State’s Jade Carey.
- Lee recently announced that she won’t return to the Auburn mat, and Chiles will at least take a gap year from the Bruins. But Carey, along with Florida star and U.S. Classic contender Leanne Wong, will pull double-duty this year, balancing college meets and elite training.
- As for the fellas, who’ll compete in the U.S. Classic for just the second time, a ton of the NCAA’s top talent will take the floor, including Oklahoma’s Fuzzy Benas, Michigan’s Paul Juda, and Stanford’s Asher Hong and Riley Loos.
When to watch: Tonight’s for the junior girlies, but tomorrow’s all about the women’s senior stars. Of the two sessions, the 8 p.m. ET one on CNBC is not-to-miss, stacked with the nation’s best. Then clear your Sunday for the men’s 11:45 a.m. ET and 5:45 p.m. ET sessions, both streaming on YouTube.