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Chiles On U.S. Team: 'There Is Not Just One Leader'
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U.S. gymnast Jordan Chiles told IG that her triple gold medal-winning performance at last month’s Pacific Rim Championships in Medellin, Colombia, showed her reliability as a scoring leader and a team leader, as well.

“It was amazing to compete with my teammates and be able to support them,” said Chiles, who placed first on vault, first on floor exercise, first with the U.S. team and third on balance beam in Medellin. “Some of the girls are first-time team members, so it was cool working together to represent the USA.”

Chiles, who placed third all-around at the World Cup of Stuttgart, Germany, in March, said she was pleased with her personal results in Medellin, despite an injury that kept her out of the all-around and a fall from balance beam in the apparatus finals.

“My plan was to compete in the all-around, but in the morning practice before competition, I was training bars and jammed my index finger on a release move,” said Chiles, who turned 17 on April 15. “After discussing the injury with my coaches and the medical staff, it was decided that it was safest for me to not do bars. My routines for the other events went pretty close to what we planned for this early in my season. The goal was to compete clean routines and think of the team, and I think I was able to do that, except my beam in the event final. Why?!”

The 2017 U.S. all-around silver medalist, Chiles said she intends to add content to her routines in time for the U.S. Championships in Boston in August and, should she qualify, the 2018 World Championships in Doha, Qatar, in October.

“I need to focus on putting all my upgrades in my routines,” said Chiles, who trains at Naydenov Gymnastics Inc. in Vancouver, Washington. “I have been competing watered-down routines this year in Stuttgart and Colombia. To do well at Championships and hopefully make Worlds, I will need to compete my full difficulty.”

The stability, confidence and cooperation that Chiles demonstrated in Stuttgart and Medellin are other key focal points for the coming months, she said.

“I also need to show that I can be consistent and hit routines easily,” Chiles said. “I think I was able to show that I can be counted on. I was able to bring USA a medal in every event I was in this year. But mostly I think I can show that I love my team and that competing as a team is amazing. I love the all-around and event finals, too, but there is something about the team competition. I became close with the girls and the coaches, and that makes the experience so cool.”

A second-year senior, Chiles embraces her new role as one of the U.S. team’s leaders.

“It is crazy to think that I would be considered a veteran since I still look up to many of the girls, but I do feel comfortable in a leadership role,” she told IG. “I have been an elite since I was 11 and on Team USA since I was 12, so I have had a lot of experience. I hope that I can encourage the girls to be the best they can be. It really is a team effort and there is not just one leader, but I can help get our team to achieve their dreams. I think that is what makes the USA great. Anyone can step up at any point and we will listen.”

Read “Amazing Grace,” a four-page profile on Chiles, in the March 2018 issue of International Gymnast magazine. To subscribe to the print and/or digital editions of IG magazine, or order back issues, click here.

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