Competing in the Olympic Games is a dream shared by young athletes all around the world. For most, the dream will never become a reality. Only the most elite competitors earn the chance to represent their countries.
For one young woman from Glendale, that dream just got one step closer to reality. Jade Carey, age 18, recently earned a spot on the United States National Gymnastics Team. And now, she has her sights set on earning the right to compete in the Tokyo Games in 2020.
A Life in Gymnastics
Jade Carey’s love of gymnastics started at home. Her father, Brian Carey, owned a gym, and Jade remembers that she always wanted to be there.
“I just really loved flipping and learning new things,” she recalls. That love never went away, and Jade’s dedication to gymnastics has propelled her to the top of the highly competitive sport.
Today, Brian Carey is not just a father, he’s his daughter’s coach and the one who hopes to be at her side when she competes in Tokyo.
Jade already has one Olympic experience under her belt. In 2016, she competed in the Junior Olympics Nationals. She completed a difficult tucked Kasamatsu full on vault – a move that has since been renamed The Carey in her honor.
By 2017, she had achieved Elite status and won gold in her first competition, held at Karolyi Ranch. She won gold on vault in several competitions that year. She competed in her first US National Gymnastics Championships, where she won a gold medal on vault and a silver medal on the floor exercise.
2018 has been a productive year so far. Carey placed 6th at the US National Gymnastics Championships, a performance which guaranteed her a spot on the national team. She was also part of the team chosen to compete at the Pan American Games, where she and her teammates won gold.
The Olympic Dream
Carey has made the decision to prioritize earning a spot on the team for the 2020 games in Tokyo over everything else. That means that she’ll be skipping the World Championships this year. Instead, she’ll be attempting to earn her spot in Tokyo by competing in the apparatus World Cup Series, which disqualifies her from the World team.
Oregon State University has offered Carey a full ride scholarship to compete on their gymnastics team, but she has decided to defer her admission until the fall of 2020. Instead, she’ll be spending her time training full time at the Arizona Sunrays Gymnastics and Dance Center in North Phoenix.
Although training for the Olympics is a full-time job for Jade, she still makes time for family. She points out that, although her father is her coach, at home he’s “just my dad.” Striking the right balance between training and the rest of her life is a challenge, but she’s had a lot of practice over the years.
AZFamily.com asked Jade what her 5-year-old self would think of her proximity to her lifelong Olympic dream. She replied that she thinks that little girl would be pretty shocked. We wish Jade the best of luck and hope to see her on the Olympic team in Tokyo.