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via Reuters

via Reuters

Jordan Chiles‘ journey in gymnastics began at the age of 6 when her parents, Timothy and Gina Chiles could not keep her “from cartwheeling down the aisle of any open space.” Looking at her free-spiritedness, they decided that a gym would be the perfect place for her to channel her energy and develop a skill. This spirited soul turned 23 just a few days ago, but does that energy still serve her to make it to the 2024 Paris Olympics?

In gymnastics flexibility and agility have the last word. And with age, these see a declining trend. At 23, Jordan Chiles belongs to the mature group of gymnasts and she seems to feel the effect of that. Recently, when she appeared for an interview with the first African American Rhythmic Gymnast, Wendy Hilliard, Chiles candidly spoke about how she’s in the second phase of becoming a woman’s body.

Chiles said, “My little body is no longer little anymore. I have times where I am tired or my body aches and stuff.” She recognized the changes that her body has gone through and the changes it will make in the future. But that has not changed her love for gymnastics. So how does she handle that?

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She wants to take it step by step and one day at a time. Chiles also talked about her changing perspective with age and said, “I’m definitely conscious about everything that I do…when you’re younger you could do all these crazy things and now it’s like okay I got to be very cautious I got to make sure you know my joints and my pains are okay…so I definitely take that into consideration of how much you know pounding and all that.”

Well, these alterations seem to have paid Jordan Chiles positively.

Jordan Chiles has become wise, not aged

Last year, there was a heartbreak when she missed being part of the world’s team. But she made that up at the Pan American Games. There she led the USA team to stand atop the podium. She became the vault silver medalist and all-around bronze medalist. But amid all her accolades, probably the Tokyo Olympics silver medal is the shiniest jewel till now. That was all the more special because she stood up for her best friend Simone Biles after she had to back out of the team final because of her twisties. Simone’s company is something that she has won on the way to her fairly long gymnastic career. And it is not only gymnastics that united them.

Apart from the fact that they train together in the World Champions Center, owned by Simone Biles’ family, they together represent a community. Jordan thinks Biles has inspired black and brown girls to enter the sport. The 23-year-old said that when she arrived at the center in June 2019, she was taken by surprise because she had never seen as many gymnasts of color in one place. She has a tremendous emotion in representing their community, which came out before the Tokyo Olympics.

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“I’m going to go out there and represent the U.S.A., represent World Champions Centre, and represent Black and brown girls over the world,” she had stated back then. With the approaching big games, she is going to get one more chance to do that. But as she said, age has turned her much more cautious, and that is visible in her choices of participating in competitions. 

via Getty

Keeping the Paris Olympics as a main goal for the year, Jordan has yet to perform live for the country. Alongside best friend Simone Biles, Jordan performed in the April Gymnastics Camp. However, she was not up for any assignments. Missing Winter Cup 2024 because of a shoulder injury and now US Classic as well, the gymnast is all set to make her debut of the year in the US Core Hydration Classic.

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She is set to perform alongside Simone Biles, Suni Lee, Jade Carey, Winter Cup 2024 champ Kayla DiCello, and others scheduled for May 17 and 18 in XL Center, Hartford, Connecticut. But she is firm on her Olympic path. “I’m really excited…we’re about five months out from the Olympics so just being able to take it day by day step by step and do everything that I can to make sure you know I’m mentally physically you know emotionally okay with everything,” Jordan stated. That once again proves that age has not changed her basics. But her way of approaching the sport has changed. 

Chiles said, “I’ve gotten used to what I’m supposed to look like within my sport…I don’t look like anybody else. I’m not the typical gymnast you see every day.” With that newfound wisdom, Chiles awaits to rock once again on the world stage.