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U.S. Olympic Team Takes Shape

June 30, 2021
Olympics Taking Shape sportsbook

The U.S. Olympic Trials finished up on Sunday night, and the women’s gymnastic team that emerged from the competition in St. Louis might be the very best the U.S. has ever sent to the Games.

Simone Biles isn’t just the best gymnast in the world, and she is the best gymnast of all time. And even though she won four gold medals at the Rio Olympics five years ago, she will be a favorite to better that with five gold medals.

Her level of difficulty in the vault and floor exercise is beyond anything the sport has ever seen, and yet she makes it all look so easy. It is that ease in which she excels that could be her undoing since it has the judges questioning just how difficult it really is.

She is a lock to win gold in the vault, floor, all-around, and team competition. She won a bronze medal on the beam in 2016 but was the world champion in 2019 on beam, and in 2021 that could be her fifth gold of the Games.

Five First-Time Olympians Join Simone Biles

Biles will be the star of the Games in Tokyo, but the other members of the team that were named on Sunday night are also outstanding.

Sunisa Lee from St. Paul, Minnesota, is brilliant in the one event that Biles isn’t a favorite to win – the bars. Her score from Sunday night would have been good enough to win the Worlds in 2019, and she will be in gold medal contention on bars and beam and in line for silver in the all-around.

Jordan Chiles, named after Michael Jordan, trains with Biles in Texas and will be in contention for a medal on the floor exercise, bars, and all-around. Chiles was the third-place finisher on Sunday.

The last of the four all-around gymnasts is Grace McCallum. She shattered her elbow five years ago but is now an Olympian. She’s not likely to compete for a medal in any of the individual events, but she will help the team’s overall total in both the floor and vault.

While those four make up the team that will compete for gold, two other women will compete as individuals. Jade Carey will compete in the vault and floor and could win silver in each event. MyKayla Skinner is also competing in the vault and will be in medal contention.

Track & Field Trials Delayed by Heat

The U.S. track and field team wasn’t finalized until late into the night on Sunday after record heat gripped Eugene, Oregon, and had the temperatures on the track reaching close to 150 degrees. But the final six events of the night did eventually take place, and a world record fell.

Sydney McLaughlin is the new favorite in the 400m hurdles after becoming the first woman to ever run a sub-52 second race. She beat rival and reigning Olympic Champion Dalilah Muhammad. This the third straight race between the two that has resulted in a new world record. They will both be going for gold in Tokyo and perhaps set a new world record for a fourth straight time.

JuVaughn Harrison Equals Jim Thorpe

For the first time since Jim Thorpe in the 1912 Olympics, an American man has qualified for both the long jump and high jump. JuVaughn Harrison completed the feat this weekend by winning both events in Eugene. He jumped 7 feet, 7.75 inches high, and then cleared a personal best long jump of 27 feet, 9.5 inches.

Harrison’s winning long jump this weekend would have been enough to win gold in Rio. His high jump result would have tied him for the bronze.

Others to Watch in Tokyo

In qualifying in the 200m, Gabby Thomas ran the third-fastest race in history, only losing out to two races run by Florence Griffith Joyner in the 1980s.

Erriyon Knighton is the youngest male U.S. track & field Olympian since 1964. The 17-year-old broke Usain Bolt’s U20 record in the 200m by running 19.88.

DeAnna Price twice broke her own U.S. record in the hammer throw. She is the current World Champion and will have a showdown in Tokyo against Poland’s Anita Wlodarczyk, the two-time defending Olympic Champion.

As rosters continue to solidify and teams become finalized, the sportsbook firms up odds for individual events. Prices for the gymnastics markets are not yet live, but early numbers give the Americans an overwhelming probability to win more gold medals than any other country. Sporting odds of -1000, the USA is followed by China at a distant-second +500 price.