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Why the US is sending 6 women gymnasts to Olympics, not 5

There is more than one way to make it to the Olympics in gymnastics, and one member of Team USA went that route instead of relying on trials.

The U.S. will be sending five men and six women to the Tokyo Olympics in gymnastics. The reason why there will be an extra woman going is because she worked to earn her spot outside of the Olympic trials, which are happening this weekend.

Jade Carey has already qualified for Tokyo by earning an individual invite due to how she has performed in the Apparatus World Cup Series over the past three years.

The top two women at trials will earn a spot in the team competition at the Olympics. Three more spots will be selected by committee -- two of whom will be added to the four-member team competition and one who will only compete in individual events.

If Carey were to finish in the top two, she would automatically be put in the team competition. But that would mean the individual spot she already earned would be forfeited and the U.S. would send just five women.

Carey appeared to confirm in an Instagram post last week that she doesn't intend to end up in the team competition.

"I have every intention to accept the individual spot that I worked very hard to earn by competing in the Apparatus World Cup Series spanning from 2018-2020 when officially offered to me," she wrote on June 15.

So, in simple terms:

  • Four women will be named to the team competition, but can also compete individually. Two will earn automatic berths to the team competition and two will be selected by committee.
  • One woman will named as an individual competitor by the committee, but will not be in the team competition.
  • Carey will also go as an individual competitor based on her own body of work.

Carey, who reportedly watered down some of her routines for the trials, was 14th overall after the first of two nights of competition and likely won't make it into the top two.

At the 2016 Olympics in Rio, the team competition consisted of five gymnasts per country. That was reduced to four this year.