Three standout Black gymnasts made history at the 2022 U.S.Gymnastics Championships in Tampa, Florida.
Konnor McClain, 17; Shilese Jones; 20; Jordan Chiles, 21, won the top three spots in the senior all-around competition on Aug 21. They became the first three Black female gymnasts to sweep the podium, NBC Connecticut reports.
According to USA Gymnastics, McClain won the gold medal on the balance beam and the top all-around ranking with a score of 112.750 in her first senior national competition. Jones came in second with an overall score of 112.000 and won bronze and Chiles came in third with a score of 111.900 and took home the silver medal.
“It’s so unreal,” said McClain in an interview with NBC Sports. “I’m still in shock a little bit.” This summer, the gymnast returned to competition following two stress fractures, a concussion, the flu, and her father’s death in December.
On social media, fans were ecstatic to witness the history-making moment noting that “Black Girl Magic” and “Black Excellence” were in full effect at this year’s U.S. Gymnastics Championships.
“This is the legacy of Gabby Douglas, Simone Biles, Dominique Dawes and so many other trailblazers who trained and stood alone,” Dr. Cathryn Stout tweeted.
These young women are indeed following in the footsteps of greats like Douglas and Biles, who broke barriers in the sport, but according to NBC News, were not present at this year’s championships.
Douglas became the first African American gymnast to win gold in the individual all-around and team events at the same Olympics in 2012. She retired in 2016. Biles has won 25 World Championship titles and seven all-around titles and is tied with Shannon Miller for the most Olympic medals won by an American.
The next time fans can see McClain, Jones, and Chiles compete will be at the 2022 World Gymnastics Championships, which begin on Oct 29 in Liverpool, England.