The gymnasts waved to an imaginary crowd as staffers cheered. Lisa Spini, the coach of MyKayla Skinner, posted the video on social media, and in the background, someone jokingly said, “Oh my gosh, is that Shane Wiskus?” in reference to a member of the U.S. men’s team. Apart from Mikulak and Biles, all the American gymnasts here are first-timers at the Games.
The men begin competition Saturday with the qualification round and the women compete Sunday. Athletes with upcoming competitions sometimes do not participate in the Opening Ceremonies because it can be a long, energy-zapping affair. The Parade of Nations alone took about two hours.
At the Opening Ceremonies, the United States was among the final delegations to march due to its status as a host of a future edition of the games, while the current host, Japan, marched last. Team USA’s flag bearers were basketball player Sue Bird and baseball player Eddy Alvarez. The U.S. delegation marched in the ceremonies at 10:30 p.m. local time.
The U.S. women are expected to rack up medals throughout these Games. Biles, the defending Olympic all-around champion, could win up to five gold medals. Sunisa Lee has an excellent bars routine and could win the gold medal in that apparatus final, which is the only one in which Biles isn’t projected to vie for the title.
Lee has also emerged as the country’s No. 2 all-arounder in recent years, and she could land on the podium in the all-around competition as well. When Biles had a few mistakes, including a fall on beam, during the second night of Olympic trials, Lee earned a higher single-day all-around total. Only two athletes per country can advance to each apparatus final.
U.S. women’s gymnastics alternate Kara Eaker tested positive for the coronavirus Sunday. Fellow alternate Leanne Wong is considered a close contact, and she continues to test negative while quarantining, according to Annie Heffernon, the vice president of the U.S. women’s gymnastics program. The alternates and team members trained at the same time in the same facility for several days after arriving in Japan, but no other gymnasts have tested positive since. The team is staying at a hotel, rather than in the Olympic Village.