Paris Olympics 2024 (Team USA): Meet Evita Griskenas

Evita Griskenas, 23, is an American rhythmic gymnast. She won the USA national all-around championship in 2022. She has also competed for the United States in the Summer Olympics in 2020 and is currently competing in the Paris Olympics in 2024.

Evita Griskenas Early and Family Life with Accomplished Parents

Evita Griskenas was born on December 3, 2000, in Chicago, Illinois to parents Sigitas and Olga Griskenas, who immigrated to the United States from Lithuania.

Evita Griskenas Childhood
Image: Young Evita (Source: Evita’s Instagram)

Griskenas spent her early years being raised by her accomplished parents in Illinois along with her younger brother Nathan, an archer. Sometimes she wishes her father on Father’s Day.

Both of Griskenas’ parents were accomplished athletes on their own before moving to America.

Evita’s father, Sigitas Griskenas, was a two-time World Fitness Champion, winning the title in 1997 and 1999. He was also Vice Mr. Fitness Universe in 2000, showing his exceptional talent for the sport.

Evita Griskenas Training with her Father
Image: Evita Griskenas Taking lessons from her dad (Source: Evita’s Instagram)

Her mother Olga placed 5th in Fitness Aerobics in 1997 and 1998. Sigitas and Olga capped off their fitness careers by winning the World Fitness Champion Couples title in Syros, Greece in 2000, shortly before emigrating to the United States.

With both parents being Lithuanian national champions and world champions in fitness competitions, Griskenas was born into an athletically involved family.

Her Education Journey

She attended Carl Sandburg High School in Orland Park, Illinois, graduating in 2019. After graduating high school in 2019, Griskenas took a gap year to concentrate full-time on training for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

When the COVID-19 pandemic caused the games to be postponed a year, she enrolled virtually at Columbia University in New York.

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By 2022, Griskenas’ weekly routine involved flying from her gymnastics training base in Chicago to New York every Sunday to attend League classes at Columbia on Mondays. She would then fly back to Chicago after classes each week to continue her rhythmic gymnastics training at the North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center.

Evita Griskenas Qualify for the Paris 2024 Games in rhythmic gymnastics

At 23 years old, Evita Griskenas will be returning to the Olympics in 2024 as the only rhythmic gymnastics qualifier for Team USA. She secured the spot available for the United States at the recent Pan American Games, building on her experience in Tokyo just a couple of years prior.

In the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, competing among the world’s best in rhythmic gymnastics, Griskenas finished 12th overall in the all-around. Now with another Games under her belt and continued improvement over the last two years, she will aim to best that placing in Paris in 2024.

Evita Griskenas Career So far

Evita Griskenas’ journey in rhythmic gymnastics began at just 4 years old. While watching rhythmic gymnast Alina Kabaeva of Russia compete on television, Griskenas became fascinated with the sport and told her mother:

“I said to my mom, ‘I want to do that, I want to do that!’ and of course I got laughed at. But, I kept asking, and then I was taken to an artistic gymnastics gym… I took one look at the gym and I refused to do anything because I said this is the wrong gymnastics, and I made her take me to a rhythmic gymnastics gym.”

Evita Griskenas told her mother.

The early start in the sport, as Griskenas captured a USA Junior National Championship in 2015 at just 15 years old. That same year she gained international experience by earning 3rd place at a juniors tournament in Moscow, Russia.

Griskenas soon represented the USA at the highest levels of competition, qualifying for the World Championships and the last two Olympic Games.

Evita Growing Professional Career

Griskenas began making waves almost immediately after moving up from junior competitions to the senior level in 2016. She placed 21st in her debut senior performance at the Espoo World Cup, then captured gold at the National Qualifier to qualify for the acclaimed USA Gymnastics Championships. There she finished 4th in overall field while collecting bronze and silver medals.

Building on her strong debut season, Griskenas racked up more hardware in 2017. She won silver at the Rhythmic Challenge, followed by another silver finish at the USA Gymnastics Championships – bringing home gold in both the hoop and ribbon finals.

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Griskenas completed 2017 by representing Team USA at her first World Championships, then returned to dominate the Pan American Championships with gold in the all-around and every apparatus final.

No signs of slowing down heading into 2018, where Griskenas placed 9th in the all-around at the renowned Sofia World Cup. At the 2018 USA Gymnastics Championships she improved to silver while defending her gold in the ball final from 2017. She rounded out 2018 gaining valuable experience competing for the USA squad at the Aeon Cup.

Prime Years Marked By Global Medals and National Dominance

Griskenas rolled herself globally in 2019, securing an American team bronze effort at the Corbeil International Tournament in France. Individually she captured all-around bronze herself, adding golds in ball and hoop along with silver (ribbon) and bronze (clubs) across apparatus finals. She comes back home by winning all-around silver at the Rhythmic Elite Qualifier, a fully dominant showing at the Pan American Games – grabbing gold in the all-around, ball, hoop, and ribbon.

Griskenas entered 2020 primed for a career-first Olympics. She won more all-around silver along with event medals early in the year. However, the COVID-19 pandemic hit soon after, causing the Tokyo Olympics to be postponed and severely limiting competitions over the next year.

Career After Pandemic

Despite the long pandemic-induced break from top-flight competition, Griskenas persevered in training. She returned in 2021 to claim the Rhythmic Challenge all-around title on home over four points. This set the stage for a career milestone later that year at the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics.

She added to her growing trophy case by sweeping apparatus golds at the Israel International Tournament leading into the 2021 USA Gymnastics Championships, where she finished runner-up to qualify again for global competition.

Griskenas finally smashed through by capturing the senior national all-around title at the 2022 USA Gymnastics Championships – winning by a massive margin of nearly 12 points. She also dominated the apparatus finals, with golds in hoop and clubs plus silvers in ball and ribbon.

Carrying the momentum into 2023, Griskenas made history for Team USA at the Portimao World Challenge Cup. Her spectacular silver medal in the all-around marked the highest-ever finish for an American rhythmic gymnast at a World Cup or Challenge Cup event.

Griskenas was disappointed over the summer of 2023 after helping Team USA to another silver effort at the Pan American Championships. Suffering injury before the national championships, she was still named to the world team to her undisputed place atop the sport in America.