Jones hails poignant silver as 'perfect stepping stone'

Jones hails poignant silver as 'perfect stepping stone'

By Paul Martin

Shilese Jones hailed a poignant all-around silver as a perfect stepping stone on the road towards Paris after collecting her second medal of the week.

The 20-year-old considered giving up the sport after last year’s US Olympic trials, when she finished 10th in the all-around as she continued her comeback from fracturing her back and foot in a car accident.

She has bounced back in stirring fashion in 2022 and dedicated the latest medal of her memorable World Championship debut to her father, who passed away in December last year.

“This whole competition heading in, I was just thinking about him,” she said.

“Doing that last floor routine meant so much to me. No matter what the placement or score was, I was already super proud of myself.

“I’ve been dreaming of this moment for so long. I’m super proud and super stoked.

“I feel this is a great stepping stone. I’m feeling great heading in to 2024.”

Jones helped USA earn a record-breaking sixth consecutive women’s team gold on Tuesday and joined compatriot Jade Carey in a star-studded final rotation containing all three eventual medallists, beginning with a 14.233 on vault.

No-one bettered the American’s 14.366 on bars and though she was unable to topple Samba superstar Andrade, Jones relished the battle following the latest instalment of what could become an increasingly mouth-watering head-to-head in years to come.

“Rebeca is super sweet and we are all encouraging each other and hoping everyone does well,” she said.

“Having Jade by my side the whole time was great.

“To have her experience and a good teammate to look up to was really important. She was there for me, we were there for each other.

“There weren’t too many nerves. We’ve been doing this for a couple of days now with the team finals and everything, so it kind of boosted my confidence a little bit.

“It means the world to me. I’ve been on this journey for a really long time now, and I’m super-proud of my gymnastics and my skills.

“Everything was amazing – the arena, the fans, the atmosphere, everything.”

Carey finished sixth in the showpiece, two places higher than she managed in last summer’s Olympic all-around final as she continues her evolution into a force to be reckoned with across all four apparatus.

“I’ve been working really hard on improving in the all-around, and I think this is only the beginning,” she said.

“I had a really great start on vault and bars. Beam was not my best routine, a little bit shaky, but I’m glad that I was able to stay on. Floor felt like my best one yet.

“I’m just happy to have made it here after competing in college. That’s something all of us should be proud of.

“After this I’m going to go back to school and get back with my team and get ready for that upcoming season, and keep doing it how I’ve been doing it each year.”

The World Gymnastics Championships Liverpool 2022 will be one of the largest international sporting events ever to be held in the city. Over 500 gymnasts from more than 70 countries will compete at the M&S Bank Arena from 29 October to 6 November 2022. Tickets are available at www.2022worldgymnastics.com/tickets.