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The U.S. women appear likely to secure six spots for gymnasts to compete in the Tokyo Olympics after Jade Carey announced she plans to accept an individual spot.
The Americans faced the possibility of competing with fewer than the maximum number of gymnasts if Carey made the four-person team and declined a nominative spot she secured through individual event World Cup competitions.
Carey, 21, announced on Instagram on Tuesday night that she planned to accept that spot once it is officially offered to her, though she heads to St. Louis to compete in U.S. Trials next week.
“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,” she wrote.
The United States faced the prospect of missing out on another spot – and expected medal opportunities – if Carey made the four-person team for Tokyo.
The International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) in 2015 shrunk teams from five to four gymnasts, a change only in effect for the Tokyo Olympics. Countries had the opportunity to secure up to two “plus-one” spots.
Those were nominative, meaning they could only be used by the gymnast who secured them, so if Carey made the four-person team, the Americans could not have replaced her.
Carey has three world championship medals combined on vault and floor and owns the top spot in the World Cup standings in those events.
The U.S. Trials run June 24-27 in St. Louis. The top two finishers lock in spots on the team, and it’s a virtual certainty the top spot will go to defending Olympic all-around gold medalist Simone Biles.
Carey, who finished sixth at nationals earlier this month, was unlikely to take the second spot but was expected to be in the mix to be selected to the team.
The FIG will not offer the spots to gymnasts until after the end of its final apparatus World Cup in Doha, Qatar, on June 26. The event was rescheduled because of COVID-19.
Carey and her father and coach, Brian, have said since 2018 that they planned to try to secure one of the “plus-one” spots, forgoing a likely team gold medal for a safer path to securing a ticket to the Games.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: US gymnastics team for Tokyo has Jade Carey accepting individual spot