Isanti native earns spot on US women’s gymnastics team
ST. LOUIS — Area sports fans will be able to watch a local athlete competing in the Toyko Olympics next month.
Grace McCallum, who lives in Isanti, was announced as one of four women who will compete as the U.S. women’s gymnastics team following the end of the Olympic Trials that were held Friday and Sunday, June 25 and 27, at the Dome at America’s Center in St. Louis.
McCallum joins Simone Biles, Sunisa Lee, and Jordan Chiles on the four-woman Olympic team that will compete in Tokyo starting on Sunday, July 25.
The women’s team final will take place on Tuesday, July 27, followed by the all-around final two days later. The four individual event finals will be held on Sunday through Tuesday, Aug. 1-3.
The 18-year-old from Minnesota earned her Olympic berth by finishing fourth in the U.S. Olympic Trials. McCallum posted a score of 112.564 in the two-day event that included two routines on each of the four apparatuses.
McCallum’s score was three-tenths of a point better than MyKayla Skinner, an alternate in 2016 who was awarded the “plus-1” specialist spot. Jade Carey earned a nominative spot through the World Cup circuit, meaning she will compete as an individual. Kayla DiCello, Kara Eaker, Leanne Wong and Emma Malabuyo will serve as the alternates.
The selection committee opted to take the top four finishers at trials even though national team coordinator Tom Forster admitted a team with Skinner on it instead of McCallum could potentially put up a marginally higher score due to Skinner’s world-class vaulting.
Fractions of a point, however, likely won’t be the difference between gold and silver. If the Americans are anywhere near the top of their game, they should win their third consecutive Olympic crown by a substantial margin. That was enough for the committee to take the ranking order at the top.
“We’re so fortunate that our athletes are so strong that I don’t think it’s going to come down to tenths of a point in Tokyo,” Forster said. “It doesn’t appear to be, ... so as a committee, we just didn’t feel it was worth changing the integrity of the process simply for a couple of tenths.”
Biles won the Olympic Trials all-around title with a score of 118.098, while Lee was second (115.832) and Chiles was third (114.631) ahead of McCallum.
McCallum, who competes for the Twin City Twisters in Champlin Park, earned her spot with her consistency. She placed fourth in both the vault (29.399) and floor (27.666) while earning fifth in both the bars (27.833) and beam (27.666).
Biles took first in the floor exercise (29.966) and vault (30.866) while Lee won the uneven bars (30.2) and balance beam (29.466).
AP Sports Writer Will Graves contributed to this report.