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Shilese Jones leads the way for U.S. women in world gymnastics championships qualifying

Shilese Jones

USA’s Shilese Jones prepares to compete during the Women’s Balance Beam qualification event during the World Gymnastics Championships in Liverpool, northern England on October 29, 2022. - RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - PUBLICATION OF SEQUENCES IN EXCESS OF 5 IMAGES/SECOND IS PROHIBITED (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - PUBLICATION OF SEQUENCES IN EXCESS OF 5 IMAGES/SECOND IS PROHIBITED (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. women easily posted the top qualifying score at the world gymnastics championships and are favored to win a record-breaking sixth consecutive world title on Tuesday.

Shilese Jones, Jade Carey, Jordan Chiles, Leanne Wong and Skye Blakely combined for 167.263 points, distancing second place Great Britain by 2.668 points. For perspective, it’s greater than the margin separating Great Britain from sixth place China.

However, qualifying scores are thrown out for Tuesday’s team final, as well as Thursday’s all-around final and apparatus finals Saturday and Sunday in Liverpool, England.

GYMNASTICS WORLDS: Broadcast Schedule | Results

Jones, who considered quitting elite gymnastics after placing 10th at last year’s Olympic Trials, tallied 55.766 points to qualify second into the all-around final. Olympic all-around silver medalist Rebeca Andrade of Brazil easily had the top score of 57.332.

Jade Carey, the Tokyo Olympic floor exercise champion, qualified third into the all-around final. She beat out Olympic team silver medalist Jordan Chiles for the second and final U.S. spot in the all-around. Chiles had the top score of the Americans heading into the last rotation in qualifying, then fell off the balance beam twice.

Carey and Chiles were also the top two qualifiers into Saturday’s vault final, as well as making Sunday’s floor final. Blakely qualified second into Sunday’s balance beam final. Jones was the fifth qualifier into Saturday’s uneven bars final.

Andrade, the Olympic vault champion, had the single highest-scoring vault in qualifying (15.066). But her hand slipped off the apparatus on her second vault. She adjusted to do a far less difficult vault than intended and finished 12th in qualifying, missing that final.

Americans Suni Lee and Simone Biles, the last two Olympic all-around champions, are not at worlds while taking indefinite, perhaps permanent breaks from elite competition. After winning the Olympic team title over the U.S., Russian gymnasts are banned from these worlds due to the war in Ukraine.

Men’s qualifying is Monday.

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