American gymnastics superstar Konnor McClain persevered to claim the 2022 U.S. all-around title at this year’s U.S. Gymnastics Championships in Tampa, Fla.
But that’s not all. Elite gymnasts Shilese Jones and Jordan Chiles stood alongside McClain on the podium this weekend, officially making history as the first three Black women to sweep the podium.
“It’s so unreal,” said McClain in an interview with NBC Sports. “I’m still in shock a little bit.”
The gymnast came back this summer from two stress factures, a concussion, the flu and the loss of her father in December.
17-year-old gymnast Konnor McClain’s father, who passed away in December, gave her a special M.M. patch.
She now wears it on her leotard in honor of him. ❤️pic.twitter.com/UNEEJINf9l
— NBC Sports (@NBCSports) February 26, 2022
“I wish I could talk to my dad right now,” McClain added.
These girls are following in the footsteps of some of the greats who we did not see at this year’s competition, including Gabby Douglas, Simone Biles and Suni Lee.
Gabby Douglas, who retired in 2016, was the first African American to become the Olympic individual all-around champion and the first U.S. gymnast to win gold in both the individual all-around and team competitions at the same Olympics in 2012.
Simone Biles, who has 25 World Championship titles under her belt, has won a record of seven all-around Championships and is tied with Shannon Miller for the most Olympic medals won by an American gymnast.
Suni Lee was the Tokyo 2020 Olympics all-around gold medalist.
It’s safe to say the competition is fierce, and here is how fans are reacting:
In a historic first, Black women swept the All-Around podium at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships. 🥇 Konnor McClain, 🥈Shilese Jones,🥉Jordan Chiles. THIS is the legacy of Gabby Douglas, Simone Biles, Dominique Dawes and so many other trailblazers who trained and stood alone. pic.twitter.com/2kAwQP9LoZ
— Cathryn Stout (@DrCathrynStout) August 22, 2022
The photo of Konnor McClain, Shilese Jones, and Jordan Chiles wearing their medals is currently in the #15 position on Reddit (and rising).
The caption: “Representation Matters”
— The Medal Count (@TheMedalCount_) August 23, 2022
McClain is now one of the leading contenders to represent the United States at the 2024 Paris Olympics.
The next time we will see McClain, Jones and Chiles will be at the 2022 Gymnastics World Championships in Liverpool, England. This competition will begin on Oct. 29.