Simone Biles told her replacement to ‘have fun,’ and she did

Jul 28, 2021, 7:42 PM | Updated: Jul 29, 2021, 7:46 am
Jade Carey, of the United States, performs on the floor during the artistic gymnastics women's all-...

Jade Carey, of the United States, performs on the floor during the artistic gymnastics women's all-around final at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Thursday, July 29, 2021, in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

(AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

              Sunisa Lee, of the United States, embraces teammate Jade Carey after winning the gold medal in the artistic gymnastics women's all-around final at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Thursday, July 29, 2021, in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)
            
              Jade Carey, of the United States, performs on the balance beam during the artistic gymnastics women's all-around final at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Thursday, July 29, 2021, in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
            
              Jade Carey, of the United States, performs on the balance beam during the artistic gymnastics women's all-around final at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Thursday, July 29, 2021, in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
            
              Gold medallist Sunisa Lee of the Unites States celebrates with teammate Jade Carey at the end of the artistic gymnastics women's all-around at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Thursday, July 29, 2021, in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
            
              Jade Carey, of the United States, performs on the floor during the artistic gymnastics women's all-around final at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Thursday, July 29, 2021, in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

TOKYO (AP) — Before American gymnast Jade Carey took the floor for her unexpected performance in the women’s Olympic all-around final on Thursday, she talked to her teammate, Simone Biles, whose exit from the competition meant Carey got the chance to fill her spot.

“She told me, ‘Good luck,’ and go out there, do the best I can and have fun,” Carey said.

Carey finished in eighth place, a result she said she was proud of given that just the day before she didn’t even know she would be competing. Biles and other teammates watched from the stands and cheered her on.

“I feel really proud of myself for how I was able to step in at the last minute and compete,” Carey said.

Biles scratched from the team finals on Tuesday after she got lost in the air on a vault. She announced Wednesday she would not compete in the individual all-around, a competition she won at the 2016 Olympics, and focus instead on her mental health.

Carey finished in ninth place at qualifying last weekend. The top 24 athletes are permitted to move to the all-around final, in which they compete in all four events: uneven bars, vault, balance beam and the floor exercise. But countries are only allowed two, and the powerhouse American team always stacks the top of the list.

In qualifying, Biles finished first and Sunisa Lee came in third, so Carey was pushed out of the finals — until Biles decided she would no longer compete.

The last few days, Carey said, were a “little bit crazy, just not knowing what was going to happen.”

When competition arrived Thursday night, Carey started strong on the vault and the uneven bars. But she fell off the balance beam and quickly sank in the standings.

“It means everything to me to be able to have this opportunity,” she said. “I just wanted to go out there and do the best I can and have a lot of fun and I feel like that’s exactly what I did.”

She said she was proud of Lee for winning gold. They didn’t let the surprises this week rattle them. Carey said they focused on keeping things light and fun on the sidelines.

Carey took an unconventional road to Tokyo. She did not wait for Olympic trials to become part of Team USA. She secured her spot last year through the apparatus World Cup Series, competing in a string of competitions and the cumulative score promised her an individual spot in Tokyo. Claiming the individual spot meant she did not compete as part of the four-person team that took a silver medal on Tuesday.

Carey is known for being strong on the vault and completing punishingly difficult tumbling in the floor exercise. At qualifying, she finished just below Biles on both elements, taking second in vault and third on floor. She will compete in the event finals next week.

She has practiced a new skill in her floor routine and could debut it on the Olympic stage during that event’s final on Monday. If she pulls off a triple-double layout, which is three twists and two flips while keeping her body straight, the move would be named after her and become the hardest floor skill in women’s gymnastics.

She wouldn’t say Thursday whether she’s planning to perform it.

“We’re not sure yet,” she said. “We’re just seeing how training goes and going from there.”

___

More AP Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/2020-tokyo-olympics and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

Torre scores 10 as San Jose St. downs CSU Bakersfield 58-48

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Alvaro Cardenas Torre scored 10 points as San Jose State beat CSU Bakersfield 58-48 on Tuesday. Cardenas Torre also contributed six rebounds for the Spartans (7-3). Ibrahima Diallo scored nine points while going 2 of 6 and 5 of 6 from the free-throw line and added 11 rebounds. Sage Tolbert […]
22 hours ago
Duke's Jeremy Roach (3) reacts after scoring and drawing a foul during the first half of the team's...
Associated Press

Roach leads No. 15 Duke past Iowa 74-62 in Jimmy V Classic

NEW YORK (AP) — Jeremy Roach tied a career high with 22 points and No. 15 Duke led virtually the entire way in a 74-62 victory over Iowa on Tuesday night in the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden. With cancer survivor Dick Vitale calling the game for ESPN, the Blue Devils (9-2) won […]
22 hours ago
Associated Press

Valparaiso takes down Trinity Christian 96-60

VALPARAISO, Ind. (AP) — Nick Edwards’ 21 points off of the bench helped Valparaiso to a 96-60 victory over Trinity Christian on Tuesday. Edwards had five rebounds, seven assists, and three steals for the Beacons (4-6). Ben Krikke scored 20 points, going 8 of 11 and 3 of 4 from the free-throw line. Kobe King […]
22 hours ago
Associated Press

Southern Utah defeats West Coast Baptist 120-49

CEDAR CITY, Utah (AP) — Parsa Fallah had 23 points in Southern Utah’s 120-49 win over West Coast Baptist on Tuesday night. Fallah added 17 rebounds and three steals for the Thunderbirds (6-4). Dee Barnes added 17 points while shooting 8 for 12, including 1 for 5 from beyond the arc, and he also had […]
22 hours ago
Associated Press

Whitney scores 23 as Montana downs South Dakota State 81-56

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — Brandon Whitney’s 23 points helped Montana defeat South Dakota State 81-56 on Tuesday night. Whitney was 10 of 12 shooting and 3 of 3 from the free throw line for the Grizzlies (4-5). Aanen Moody was 6-of-10 shooting, including 2 for 5 from distance, and went 6 for 8 from the […]
22 hours ago
Associated Press

Idaho wins 76-66 over North Dakota

MOSCOW, Idaho (AP) — Isaac Jones’ 19 points helped Idaho defeat North Dakota 76-66 on Tuesday night. Jones also had nine rebounds and six blocks for the Vandals (4-5). Divant’e Moffitt added 14 points while going 4 of 12 and 6 of 9 from the free-throw line, and they also had six assists. Nigel Burris […]
22 hours ago
Simone Biles told her replacement to ‘have fun,’ and she did