There was some serious Black Girl Magic on display at the 2022 United States Gymnastics Championships.
According to ESPN, Konnor McClain delivered a strong two-day performance to win all-around gold at the national championships. She was joined on the podium by silver medalist Shilese Jones and bronze medalist Jordan Chiles. Yes, the top three women’s gymnasts in the country are all Black. It was a very tight competition that saw first place and third place separated by only eight-tenths of a point.
McClain was expected to be a part of the 2020 Olympic team, but a rough season combined with injuries led her to abruptly switch coaches—which is a decision not normally made during an Olympic cycle. Now, a year later, that change has clearly paid off.
The bad news for the rest of the world is that the champion says she’s only at 75 percent, as she’s still recovering from a recent concussion and is dealing with stress fractures in both shins. McClain thinks she’ll be completely ready for the world championships later this year in England.
“Anything can happen,’’ she said. “So I’m excited for the future.’’
After the first day of competition, McClain was a close second behind Jones, but a strong opening vault put her ahead of Jones, who fell off the balance beam. Though the gold medalist stayed in front the rest of the night, things ultimately came down to the final rotation.
McClain’s small mistake on the floor exercise, left the door open for Jones to secure the victory on the uneven bars. Unfortunately, she underrotated her dismount, which let Konnor hold on to first place.
Despite the misstep, Jones stayed positive about her finish, telling NBC Sports, “Two falls and second place is just really only the beginning for me.”
Over in the men’s competition, veteran gymnast Donnell Whittenburg capitalized on the mistakes of younger, inexperienced athletes to come in second.
All these competitors now turn their focus to preparing for the 2022 Gymnastics World Championships, which take place Oct. 29-Nov. 6 in Liverpool, England.