The 2021 Winter Cup was the first elite gymnastics competition in nearly a year.
By Alex Holmes
Jordan Chiles won the 2021 Winter Cup last weekend in the first major elite gymnastics meet since last March. The event was also the first competition since the 2016 Rio Games for Olympic gold medalist Laurie Hernandez.
Chiles, the 2017 U.S. P&G Championship’s all-around silver medalist, finished with an all-around score of 57.050 after placing first on the vault and floor exercise, second on beam, and fourth on the uneven bars. Originally from Washington state, Chiles moved to Texas in 2019 and currently trains alongside Simone Biles, who did not compete in the Winter Cup.
Shilese Jones, an 18-year-old from Ohio, finished nearly two points behind Chiles. Jones had an impressive performance at the meet, earning third place in the uneven bars and floor exercise. Emily Lee, Lilly Lippeatt, and Amari Drayton rounded out the top five.
Chiles, Jones, Lee, and Lippeatt qualified to the 2021 U.S. Senior Women’s National Team based on their finish in the competition’s top four.
The last time gymnastics fans saw Laurie Hernandez compete in a meet was four and a half years ago at the Rio Olympics, where Hernandez was part of Team USA’s gold medal-winning team. She also won a silver medal for her performance on the balance beam.
At the 2021 Winter Cup, Hernandez competed in two events as she began her comeback for the Tokyo Olympics. She finished fifth on the beam and thirteenth in the floor exercise.
Olympic hopeful and 2019 World Championship gold-medalist Suni Lee also competed in two events, earning first place in the uneven bars and placing third on the beam. The 17-year-old is coming back from a foot injury suffered last summer.
The next USA Gymnastics event is the 2021 Collegiate National Championships, which will take place April 10-11 in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. The Olympic Team Trials are slated for June 24–27 in St. Louis, Missouri.