Olympic Gymnast Jordan Chiles Talks Nationals, Nike and Style

With this weekend’s 2024 Xfinity U.S. Gymnastics Championships in Fort Worth is the last stop before the Olympic Trials, Jordan Chiles is raring to go to the Paris Games.

The 23-year-old, who won silver at the 2020 Tokyo Games, will have plenty of competition including from three Olympic all-around gold medalists — Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas and Suni Lee — as well as from another Olympic medalist, Jade Carey. Chiles said, “I’m ready to go out there and shine bright like I did at Classics [the 2024 Core Hydration Classic earlier this month] to hit four-for-four again and be with my teammates, making memories and sharing some.”

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Not inclined to choose which of her four events is a favorite, she said she enjoys all of them. “Obviously, floor is something that I’m really excited about, and vault is a big one as well,” Chiles said. “I’m excited to see how everything turns out.”

For one day this weekend, the American athlete will be turned out in a custom leotard from GK Elite Sportswear that was inspired by a look from Beyoncé’s “Renaissance” tour. While personal flair is part of the appeal for some of the millions who tune in for elite gymnastics showdowns, Chiles has recognized the athleticism that is needed for years.

After picking up the sport at age 6 1/2, Chiles started taking it more seriously from the age of 10. Now an average training day is six hours. “It’s not really a challenge, when it comes to practices. It’s more of a mental game. Physically, we can do everything. But sometimes being tired or drained can make things really tough,” she said. “The challenge is more about waking up every day and doing the same thing over and over again. Other than that, the gymnastics part is not that challenging.”

Jordan Chiles
Jordan Chiles’ NCAA Nationals photo diary.

The Nike athlete also has a partnership with the clear aligners maker Invisalign, which she says has helped her to be more confident smiling and less self-conscious. “I didn’t enjoy smiling around people before, because I was always in front of cameras and in front of people talking. I can enjoy taking pictures and understand that everything looks pretty good.”

Maintaining a certain weight is not something that Chiles has to do now, despite having been reportedly advised by a coach years ago to follow an 800-calorie daily diet. Good fruits, vegetables and protein are key for prime athletic performances, she said, “A lot of times when people talk about diets or being a ‘good weight,’ that typically is something that [some] people do have trauma from. As athletes, we focus on what’s good for us so that we perform and compete the right way,” Chiles said.

Jordan Chiles
Jordan Chiles’ NCAA Nationals photo diary.

Fashion-wise, she likes to be head-to-toe in athleisure from her sponsor Nike whenever possible. “Even though we’re in ‘leos’ [slang for leotards] for the majority of our lives, when it does come to fashion, I do like simple chic, whether it’s from Louis [Vuitton], Prada or Dior.”

Nights out with friends, whether that be for a nice dinner or someone’s birthday party, Chiles favors skirts, or takes the tomboy route, pairing baggy jeans with a cute crop top to beat the Texas heat. Nike, Zara, Aritzia and American Eagle are in her rotation. “But my shoes are always my final products. I still typically wear Nike for that sort of thing.”

Jordan Chiles and Dawn Staley
Jordan Chiles and Dawn Staley

Non-training time is spent hanging out with her best friend, going to a movie with family members, taking the occasional trip to the mall or heading for the pool to cool off. “The majority of the time though I do self care. I will stay home, watch some TV shows or hang with my dogs. I like to watch ‘Criminal Minds,’ or anything on BET.”

Chiles recognizes how she has helped to improve diversity in the sport and hopes to build upon that. “Being an African American gymnast, it’s very hard. The diversity part was not very seen when I started in gymnastics. Now that [inclusion] is being seen in a different way. It’s really cool being able to be a part of that,” Chiles said. “Because the younger generation can really explore who they want to be when they come to any sport. In my sport in general, we can be proud of what we’ve done and what we’ve seen.”

As for the fateful moment of being presented with an Olympic medal, Chiles said, “Standing on the podium is really cool. You know that not everybody gets that opportunity. Once you do, you feel that you’ve accomplished something. It’s definitely cool to see everybody clap for you and cheer for you.”

It also stands for more, according to the silver medalist. “That medal that you wear [represents] aches, pains and scars that you have gone through up to that moment. That just feels amazing to stand up there and you’re representing such an amazing country,” Chiles said.

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