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STUTTGART, Germany — Years from now, Jade Carey will be able to tell people she beat Simone Biles.
OK, so it was only in vault qualifying and it was only by .001 points. But when you top the GOAT, you take it any way you can get it.
Carey had the highest vault score in qualifying, getting a combined 15.2 for her two vaults Saturday night at the world gymnastics championships. That earns her a spot in the vault final, which is next Saturday.
Biles, who is the reigning world and Olympic champion on vault, scored a 15.199.
“I’m really happy that I was able to do my best vault and qualify to finals,” Carey said.
Jade Carey posted the top qualifying score on the vault Saturday. (Photo: Laurence Griffiths, Getty Images)
Carey also posted the third-highest score on floor exercise, but she was knocked out of that event final because of the International Gymnastics Federation’s “two-per-country” rule. Only two gymnasts per country make all-around and event finals, regardless of their scores.
Carey and teammate Sunisa Lee both scored 14.2 on floor, .633 behind Simone Biles. But Lee got the edge in the tiebreaker because her execution score was higher.
“It just goes to show, getting into finals, every tenth matters,” national team coordinator Tom Forster said. “Going out of bounds, it’s a big deal.”
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Carey went out of bounds twice during her routine, on her first and third passes.
While Carey said she was “disappointed” to miss the event final, it didn’t detract from the rest of her night. Especially after she had to watch from home last year.
The FIG has cut team sizes from five to four gymnasts for the Tokyo Olympics, and will use some of those spots to reward gymnasts who specialize in individual events. At the end of the World Cup series next spring, the top gymnasts on each event will qualify their own spot in Tokyo.
Carey decided to try to do that; the United States is so deep that no one besides Biles is assured of making the Tokyo team. While the move is likely to pay off – she leads both the vault and floor standings right now – it meant she had to sit out last year’s world championships.
Jade Carey, performs on the floor exercise, posted the third-best qualifying score but did not make the event final. (Photo: Matthias Schrader, AP)
“It was hard for me to not be able to come,” she said. “I’ve been really excited to be here.”
This is Carey’s second world championships, having competed in 2017, when she won silver medals on both vault and floor. But there was no team competition at that world championships, and Carey said she’s enjoying the atmosphere of this one much more.
The U.S. women topped qualifying, finishing more than five points ahead of China.
“The energy was higher,” Carey said when asked to compare this year’s worlds to 2017. “We’re all just out there working toward our one goal. It just made it a lot more fun for me.”