Road to Paris Olympics begins in San Jose with 2023 US Gymnastics Championships

The US gymnastics championships start this week at SAP Center

Wednesday, August 23, 2023
Road to Paris Olympics begins in SJ at 2023 US Gymnastics Championship
Some of the best gymnasts in history are heading to the Bay Area to compete in the 2023 U.S. Gymnastics Championships.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Some of the best gymnasts in history are heading to the South Bay this week. The men and women competing in the 2023 U.S. Gymnastics Championships have collectively won 12 Olympic medals, 50 World Championship medals and 46 national titles, and they're taking over the SAP Center in San Jose in a matter of days.

An incredible field on display for South Bay fans with national names like 2020 Olympic all-round champion Sunisa Lee and the gymnast many consider the greatest of all time, Simone Biles.

VIDEO: Simone Biles, Suni Lee headline list of athletes competing in SJ for US Gymnastics Championships

Simone Biles and Sunisa Lee are two gymnasts headlining an impressive list of athletes set to compete.

Nearly 150 gymnasts have qualified to compete through Sunday.

We will also have 29 gifted athletes with local ties, including Stanford University Senior Asher Hong.

"I don't think I've ever competed in my hometown," Hong said. "I've never had a championship in Houston. So, I think it's really exciting. I hope we get a big crowd here from Stanford, including the athletes and gymnasts. So, it means a lot and I'm really excited."

The men were on display Tuesday for an open media session ahead of the competition - one of the biggest gymnastics events of the year.

A men's junior and senior and women's junior and senior champion will be crowned.

But with the 2024 Summer Olympics around the corner, this competition under the lights in San Jose will also play a major role in determining the roster to represent Team USA.

"This is almost the last big meet that you really want to do well at to start getting on that real road to Paris," 2020 Olympic Gymnast Yul Moldauer said. "So, the U.S. Championships is the entry way to Worlds. Then Worlds goes to Olympics and that's it, so this is a big one."

In addition to the competition, the USA Gymnastics delegation will be in town for the A Gymnastics National Congress and Trade Show at the convention center.

Then Saturday, the USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame is scheduled.

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The events bring a jam packed few days across Downtown San Jose.

"We want to keep the energy rolling," San Jose Sports Authority Executive Director John Poch told ABC7 News. "We had a San Jose Jazz Festival last week, which was just spectacular. Downtown was so exciting, so vibrant. And then this will just roll into it. Remember, we have over 2,000 people attending the National Congress. And they're attending that Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday."

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"How many basketball fans say they wished they saw Michael Jordan? Or how many baseball fans say, 'Wow, I wish I saw Willie Mays,' or soccer fans who say, 'I wish I saw Mia Hamm play.' Well, you have the chance," Poch shared.

Poch said Sunday's event, the women's final, is close to a sellout. There is also a list of local, Bay Area qualifiers expected to draw out crowds - athletes representing Stanford University, San Mateo Gymnastics, Airborne Gymnastics in Santa Clara, and World Champions Centre in Pleasanton.

It's a major competition on the global scale and huge for the City of San Jose as well.

Poch says having yet another national sporting event take place in the South Bay is critical for other big events to come to town in the future.

"We don't get the 2026 World Cup if we don't have a proven record of hosting mega events," Poch said. "Let's not forget, we had the 94 World Cup matches at Stanford Stadium. Oh, yeah, we had two Super Bowls, one at Stanford and one at Levi's Stadium. So people know the way to San Jose."

Right after the competition, USA Gymnastics is expected to announce its national teams. Olympic rosters won't be set until after trials next year, just before the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris.

Back to the big names like Simone Biles and Lee, the competition will mark the first time two Olympic all-around gold medalists will compete at the same U.S. Championship.

The competition will begin Thursday for junior and senior men and Friday for the junior and senior women.

The events kick off on August 24 with a four-day event that will culminate with champions crowned on the weekend.

For more information about the 2023 Xfinity U.S. Gymnastics Championships, click here.

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