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What to watch for this week at the U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Trials in St. Louis

Gymnastics is always one of the marquee events of the Olympic games. This year, the team's journey starts in St. Louis. Here are the basics.
Credit: KSDK

ST. LOUIS — Excitement is building for the Tokyo Olympics, with Team USA growing in numbers by the day. Gymnastics is always one of the marquee events of every Olympic games. This year, the journey for both the men's and women's teams starts in St. Louis. Here are the basics of what you need to know.

When and where?

The trials are being held at the Dome at America's Center in downtown St. Louis beginning on Thursday, June 24 and finishing up on Sunday, June 27.

The trials were originally supposed to take place at Enterprise Center, but were moved to a larger venue because of COVID-related reasons.

How can I watch?

If you're not lucky enough to have tickets to the trials, you'll be able to watch all the action on 5 On Your Side and other NBC platforms.

Here's the current TV lineup of coverage:

June 24: Men, Day 1 – 6:30 p.m. on NBCSN and livestreaming

Men Day 1 Apparatus Feed – 6:30 p.m. on NBCOlympics.com

June 25: Women, Day 1 – 8 p.m. on NBC and streaming

Women Day 1 Apparatus Feed – 8 p.m. on NBCOlympics.com

June 26: Men, Day 2 – 3 p.m. on the Olympic Channel and 4 p.m. on NBC and streaming

Men Day 2 Apparatus Feed – 3 p.m. on NBCOlympics.com

June 27: Women, Day 2 – 8:30 p.m. on NBC and streaming

Women Day 2 Apparatus Feed – 8:30 p.m. on NBCOlympics.com

Who makes the team?

The United States can send up to five men and six women to compete in Tokyo.

For the Olympic team event, four gymnasts for both the men's and women's team will be selected. There is also an individual component that gymnasts can earn a bid to Tokyo.

Here's how the spots will be determined on the women's side:

  1. First place in the all-around at the trials will receive an automatic spot on the team (Simone Biles hasn't lost an all-around competition since 2013).
  2. Second place in the all-around at the trials will also receive an automatic spot.
  3. The third spot will be selected by committee
  4. The fourth spot will be selected by committee

There are up to two individual Olympic spots on the women's side. One of these has already been claimed by Jade Carey, who mathematically clinched the spot through her performance in the 2018-2020 apparatus World Cup series. The other spot will be selected by committee.

Here's how the spots will be determined on the men's side:

  1. First place in the all-around at the trials will receive an automatic spot on the team.
  2. Second place in the all-around at the trials will also receive an automatic spot if he placed in the top three on a minimum of three events.
  3. The third spot will be selected by committee.
  4. The fourth spot will be selected by committee.

The men will be allowed one more gymnast to compete only in individual events. That person will be chosen by committee.

Who are some athletes should I keep an eye on?

First, for the women:

Simone Biles - Already seen by some as the greatest gymnast of all-time, Biles is all but a lock to make Team U.S.A. and be one of the country's most celebrated athletes in Tokyo.

Jordan Chiles - A rising star who trains alongside Biles in Texas, the 20-year-old Chiles could be one of the United States' breakout stars if she makes the team.

MyKayla Skinner - An alternate for the Rio games, Skinner comes in at 24 years old in 2021. While she may be old for her sport, Skinner is looking to prove she deserves another shot at gold.

Now, for the men:

Sam Mikulak - Mikulak is a two-time Olympian and six-time U.S. all-around champion. He's the biggest name on the men's side, but is coming off elbow and wrist injuries suffered during the pandemic. He's trying to become the first U.S. gymnast to compete in three Olympics since Blaine Wilson in 2004.

Yul Moldauer - Moldauer was born in South Korea and adopted as a baby. He has also dealt with injuries lately, but has been one of the team's more consistent performers.

Brody Malone - Malone is a two-time NCAA all-around champion and has rocketed up the men's gymnastics ranks. The 21-year-old from Stanford could be a breakout star.

When will they compete in Tokyo?

The team medal rounds for the men and women are slated to take place on July 26 and 27 in Tokyo.

The individual all-around medal rounds are scheduled to take place on July 28 and 29.

Other individual events for the men and women are scheduled to take place on August 1, 2 and 3.

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