Jade Carey poses with her gold medal at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on Aug. 2, 2021 in Tokyo.
TOKYO – In the old Olympic scoring system, Jade Carey would have earned a perfect 10 for bouncing back.
One day after she tripped in the vault, avoiding injury to her body - but bruising her psyche - Carey moved with confidence and precision to win the gold medal in floor exercise Monday at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
“I think coming back from a day like yesterday,” Carey said, “I’m really proud of myself for being able to put that behind me and finish with probably the best floor routine I’ve ever done in my life.”
Her father Brian, who is her coach at home and in Tokyo, and teammate Simone Biles offered the 21-year-old from Phoenix, Arizona, support and encouragement.
Brian Carey said that when he talked to his daughter Monday morning, he told her, “You might feel like yesterday was one of the worst days of your life, but today can be one of the best days of your life.”
The two-time world silver medalist on vault took that advice to heart. She said her teammates reminded her “that I’m a great vaulter and that I will come back from it.”
Carey said Biles especially helped her move on. “She just said,’ ‘It happened and you can’t do anything about it.’ She was like, ‘Let’s go out and kill floor,’ so that’s what I did.”
With Biles and her other teammates cheering loudly from the stands at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre, Carey gave Team USA its third straight title in floor exercise, with Aly Raisman winning in 2012 and Biles in 2016.
USA Gymnastics announced Monday afternoon that Biles would resume competition on Tuesday in the balance beam. She had withdrawn from the all-around, vault, uneven bars and floor exercise to focus on her mental health and a case of the “twisties,” which involves air awareness.
“It’s been up up in the air, but I’m really proud of her for coming back and competing beam,” Carey said. “She’s been through a lot this Olympics, so it’s going to be great to see her out there tomorrow.”
Carey had stepped in for Biles in the all-around competition, placing eighth - partly due to a fall on beam - after finishing ninth in the qualification behind Biles and eventual champion Suni Lee. She was eighth again in vault after the mishap on the entrance to her first vault.
“I tripped, I guess, in my hurdle, or right before,” Carey said. “I don’t really know. It’s kind of a blur now.”
She said it had never happened to her before. “I was very shocked at first, so it definitely was just a fluke,” Carey said.
She made the snap decision to turn a planned Cheng vault into a simple back tuck, then had to perform again. She had a big step on the landing of her Amanar.
“I’m glad that I’m safe and healthy and just doing that second vault, it was a challenge, but I didn’t want to give up,” Carey said. “I heard everyone in the stands cheering for me and that really helped.”
MyKayla Skinner won the silver medal in the event.