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9 Facts About Tokyo Olympics Star Jordan Chiles

Jordan Chiles, 20, is one of the six U.S. gymnasts headed to the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. In 2018, Chiles mentally checked out of the sport of gymnastics until she met gymnastic superstar Simone Biles. The 4′ 11″ Vancouver native would later move more than 1,000 miles to train with Biles.

Here’s everything we know about Chiles and her road to the Olympics.

She is named after NBA legend Michael Jordan.

Chiles’ greatness was destined from birth. Her mother, Gina Chiles, named her after the GOAT Michael Jordan.

She is a fan of Spider-Man.

At the 2021 U.S. Gymnastics Championship, Chiles performed a Spider-Man-inspired floor routine. The young gymnast tumbled through the air as music inspired by the Spider-Man films played. In a post-competition interview, Chiles said she chose a Spider-Man theme to “show people that I am a superhero as well.” She continued, “That’s kind of like us. As athletes, we can do anything we put our minds to.”

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Chiles is the CEO of Melanin Drip Co.

The gymnast started her own clothing company, Melanin Drip Co., in June 2020 at the height of the national Black Lives Matter protests. “I started Melanin Drip Clothing Co. to encourage others to LOVE and be PROUD of every inch of themselves. I am a young black woman, a Melanin Queen, and I wanted to create apparel that speaks loud and honors our royal lineage,” Chiles says in her brand’s mission statement.

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She was on the brink of quitting gymnastics until she met Simone Biles.

In an interview with the New York Times, Chiles revealed that she nearly gave up gymnastics in 2017 after not being selected for the U.S. Women’s Gymnastics team heading to the world championships. “I didn’t think the sport wanted me anymore. So, I went the opposite direction,” Chiles said. At the 2018 nationals, Jordan finished 11th in the all-around category. She took that as another push to end her career until she had a conversation with someone who would turn her life around.

“I just wanted to finish high school and go off to college. But then I had a talk with Simone [Biles],” Chiles told the Times.

At the end of 2018, Biles suggested Chiles pack her bags and move from Washington to Texas to train with her at the World Champions Centre. Two days after graduating high school, Chiles started her journey back to gymnastics with coaches Cecile and Laurent Landi. Over the years training and living in Texas, Biles and Chiles have like sisters.

Jordan Chiles and Simone Biles pose with their coaches, Laurent and Cecile Landi.

Jamie SquireGetty Images

In an interview with PopSugar, Chiles revealed how training in Texas changed her life. “Training under Laurent [Landi] and Cecile [Canqueteau-Landi] definitely has changed my whole mindset, my whole attitude, and how I look forward to being in the gym these days. Being able to have coaches who truly understand me and what I’ve gone through and what I want in my career is something that I was really, really happy about,” the star told the outlet.

She plans to attend UCLA in the fall as a freshman.

In November 2018, Chiles signed to the University of California, Los Angeles to continue her education and her gymnastics career. She took to her Instagram to celebrate her major accomplishment. “Thank you, everyone, for coming to support me at my signing❤️ This girl is finally gonna be a BRUIN after so many years,” she wrote. Chiles plans to attend the university in the fall as a freshman.

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Chiles’ mother wrote a children’s book written based on the gymnast’s story.

Before the summer games were postponed in 2020, Chiles’ mother, Gina, wrote a children’s book about her fifth and youngest child. “Dream Big Little Chick”—Chick is a family nickname for Chiles—based the story on her gymnastics journey.

“It was based on Jordan, but I was really thinking of little kids that had their own dream. Especially when things didn’t always seem like it could happen,” Gina Chiles told NBC Sports.

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Chiles is also very close to her father.

Chiles’s father, Timothy Chiles, has been a huge support in Chiles’ life and gymnastics career from the beginning. For Father’s Day, Chiles posted a sweet tribute to celebrate her father. “Dear daddy, I love you so much and couldn’t ask for a better dad❤️You have been with me every step of the way through my journey and I appreciate everything you have done😊 I love you and HAPPY FATHERS DAY OLD MAN😂😂,” she captioned the post.

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Chiles started gymnastics later than her peers.

Chiles didn’t begin practicing gymnastics until the age of seven, which is seen as late in the sport, since many elite gymnasts start classes as toddlers. “I thought it was just like a trampoline park. All the girls were doing flips and stuff, and I thought it looked like fun,” Chiles told ESPN.

After watching the 2008 Olympics, Chiles was star-struck by the U.S. Women’s Gymnastics team, especially Shawn Johnson, owing to their similar frames. After the games, Chiles was destined to meet Johnson as she stood in line for many hours at a Nike Store in Seattle. In 2019, Chiles flashed back to the unforgettable memory on Twitter.

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Chiles is a star to watch at the Tokyo Olympics.

At the U.S. Gymnastics Championships, Chiles’ placed third on the vault behind Olympian teammates Simone Biles and MyKayla Skinner. She also placed fourth on the uneven bars, floor exercise, and balance beam, which resulted in her being selected for the national team and competing at the Olympic Trials. “Simone was telling me that I deserved what I just did and that I’m basically gifted and talented, and I have the opportunity to make that [Olympic] team. It just all hit me then. I’m so close,” Chiles said later, per NBC Olympics.

Chiles finished third all-around at the Olympic Trials—behind Biles and Suni Lee—for a second place finish on the uneven bars and fourth on the balance beam, earning her a spot on the U.S. Olympic team. Chiles is predicted to lock in a qualifying spot in the all-around finals category.

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