#BlackGirlMagic was on full display at the 2022 U.S. Gymnastic Championships.
Konnor McClain captured the U.S. all-around title while Shilese Jones and Jordan Chiles came in second and third place, marking the first time ever that Black women filled the top three spots in the competition, reports NBC Sports.
McClain becomes the sixth woman since 2000 to win the title in her senior nationals debut, a feat most recently accomplished by Simone Biles.
“I never thought this could happen—ever,” she said. “Just looking back at...where I was last year, this is just so crazy to me.”
McClain’s first senior national competition was slated for last year, but after changing coaches and moving across the country she was not prepared ready to compete. In addition, last winter, her father, Marc, died from COVID-19 and her grandmother passed in the same week.
Two weeks ago, she suffered from a stress fracture in each shin, the flu, and a concussion. Despite all of these setbacks, she continued to persevere. As a result, she delivered eight straight solid routines across two days of competition, posting a two-day total score of 112.750, just ahead of Shilese Jones at 111.900.
Throughout the competition, she wore a leotard patch with her father's initials and later stood on the podium, with the patch, as a champion. When asked what was her first thoughts were following her victory, McClain replied, “I wish I could talk to my dad right now.”
She continued, “anything can happen, so I’m excited for the future.”
Jones also expressed her excitement about her achievement. “Two falls and second place is just really only the beginning for me," she said.
Next up for McClain, Jones, and Chiles is the World Artistic Gymnastic Championships set to take place in Liverpool, United Kingdom at the Liverpool Arena, from October 26 - November 6.