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Jade Carey, an American gymnast competing as an individual, qualifies for Olympic floor exercise, vault finals

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TOKYO — Jade Carey’s untraditional path to the Olympics paid off.

The 19-year-old, competing as an individual instead of as part of the U.S. team, qualified for floor exercise and vaulting finals Sunday with her best performances of the year.

Carey and U.S. superstar Simone Biles, who had one of the roughest performances of her career in the third qualifying session at Ariake Gymnastics Centre, will compete in the vault final on Aug. 1 and floor final the following day.

MyKayla Skinner finished fourth overall in vault qualifying but is not eligible for the final because a maximum of two per country are allowed in the eight-woman event finals.

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Jul 25, 2021; Tokyo, Japan; Jade Carey (USA) competes on the floor in the womens gymnastics qualifications during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games at Ariake Gymnastics Centre. Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Network
Jul 25, 2021; Tokyo, Japan; Jade Carey (USA) competes on the floor in the womens gymnastics qualifications during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games at Ariake Gymnastics Centre. Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Network

So it came down to one American knocking another out of contention for an individual medal for the U.S. spot open alongside Biles on vault and floor. Skinner tied with Jordan Chiles for the third-best U.S. score on floor.

“They did a good job,” said Tom Forster, USA Gymnastics women’s high-performance coordinator, of Carey and Skinner. “I’m fairly certain MyKayla is super happy to finally be an Olympian. She’s proud of herself as she should be.

“The people that made floor finals are the best athletes on floor, same on vault. It is what it is.”

U.S. gymnasts did not talk to the media after their session.

Biles and fellow American Sunisa Lee had the top two all-around scores (57.731 and 57.166). Carey was seventh all-around (56.265) and Skinner ninth (55.398), both ahead of U.S. competing team members Grace McCallum (55.165) and Jordan Chiles (52.698).

Because they qualified as individuals – Carey through the Apparatus World Cup Series and Skinner via U.S. Championships and Olympic Trials – their scores did not count for the U.S. team and they cannot compete in the team final Tuesday.

Biles also made the all-around, uneven bars and balance beam finals and still could win six medals at her second Olympics.

Carey, 21, who is coached by her father Brian, displayed a confidence built on improved health. She was held back much of this year by an ankle injury suffered at Winter Cup in February and did not compete on vault or floor on the second day of the Olympic Trials.

The U.S. women began their qualifying session at Ariake Gymnastics Centre on floor. Biles, 2016 Olympic and five-time World all-around champion, went far out of bounds on one of her passes but still scored a U.S. high 14.133.

Carey scored 14.100 on floor, ahead of Skinner and Jordan Chiles at 13.566.

Biles and Carey were second and third overall on floor behind Italy's Vanessa Ferrari (14.166).

On vaulting, the second U.S. event, Biles stepped off the mat on her first vault then scored 15.400 on her second for a 15.183 average.

Skinner competed next, taking a big step on her second landing and averaging 14.866.

Carey jumped ahead of Skinner with a pair of 15.166 vaults.

The 21-year-old Carey competed around the world from 2018-20 in the Apparatus World Cup Series, created for this Olympic cycle as an alternate way of qualifying for the Games. She was the series leader in floor and vault, showing why Sunday in the biggest meet of her life.

Carey also scored 14.133 on uneven bars and 12.866 on balance beam.

Vaulting finalists

  • Simone Biles (U.S

  • Jade Carey (U.S.)

  • Rebeca Andrade (Brazil)

  • Yeo Seojeong (South Korea)

  • Shallon Olsen (Canada)

  • Liliia Khaimova (Russian Olympic Committee)

  • Alexa Moreno (Mexico)

  • Angelina Melnikova (ROC)

Floor exercise finalists

  • Vanessa Ferrari (Italy)

  • Simone Biles (U.S.)

  • Jade Carey (U.S.)

  • Rebeca Andrade (Brazil)

  • Jessica Gadirova (Great Britain)

  • Viktoriia Listunova (ROC)

  • Angelina Melnikova (ROC)

  • Mai Murakami (Japan)

Note: Maximum two gymnasts per country allowed in an event final.

Reach the reporter at jeff.metcalfe@arizonarepublic.com or 602-444-8053. Follow him on Twitter @jeffmetcalfe.

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Jade Carey qualifies for Olympic gymnastics floor, vault finals