Konnor McClain (17), Shilese Jones (20) and Jordan Chiles (21) received one of the highest honors and created history simultaneously. These three skilled athletes stood tall as the championship’s first all-Black winners’ podium. Sports fans are flooding their comments and social media with love and adoration for this historic win.
The U.S. Gymnastics Championship closed out its games on Sunday (Aug. 21) night. McClain was named the competition’s first place winner and she tells Team USA that she’s still in disbelief.
“I never thought this could happen, ever,” McClain shares. “It’s so unreal, and I honestly can’t believe it. I’m still in shock a little right now.”
Also the youngest of the crew, McClain talks about how the process has helped her develop as a true champion of the sport.
“My confidence has grown so much just in the last couple months,” she reveals. “Just doing routines over and over again and knowing I can do the routines and coming to the competition knowing I can make it too. It’s such a big difference being so confident.”
This is a huge accomplishment as the NCAA Demographics Database discloses only about 9 percent of Division 1 women’s gymnasts self-identify as Black, while 63 percent identify as White and 23 percent belong to other racial and ethnic groups.
These three champions are inspiring other young Black girls vying for their own championship spot.
“It’s pretty cool that kids will look at us, just the way we looked at Simone, and say, ‘Yeah, if she can do this, maybe we can do this too,’” Chiles said to The New York Times ahead of the Tokyo Olympics last summer. “Representation matters, you know.”
Congrats to McClain, Jones and Chiles on their record-breaking wins!