Paris Olympics 2024 (Team USA): Meet Gymnast Shilese Jones

American artistic gymnast Shilese Jones, 21, participated in the world championship teams in the 2022, 2023, and 2018 Pan American Championships which all took home gold medals. She qualifies as an athlete at the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris.

Shilese Jones is Qualified For the 2024 Paris Olympics

At the 2023 World Championships, Jones took a major step toward her goal of making the 2024 Olympic team. She posted the second-highest all-around score in qualifying out of all competitors, showing her ability across all four events, vault, uneven bars, balance beam, and floor exercise. Her strong showing across multiple events demonstrates why she is considered a top contender for the 2024 U.S. Olympic gymnastics team that will compete in Paris.

“I know there’s still more for me to prove out there,” “I want to accomplish so much more.”

Jones reflected.

Shilese Jones made history alongside teammates Jordan Chiles and Konnor McClain in 2022 when they became the first all-Black trio of female gymnasts to sweep the medals at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships.

“It means the world coming back for the second go-round. And just being one spot short [of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic team],”

“So many goals have passed, and this is just like my one big goal, so hopefully, I can finally have it in my hands.”

Jones said on the show

Jones and McClain have both faced personal adversity that has impacted but motivated their gymnastics careers. They each lost their fathers in 2021. On top of grieving, McClain has also dealt with a back injury from 2022 into early 2023 that sidelined her from training for some time. She recently returned to the gym and intends to return to elite-level competition this year.

Jones and McClain have a lot more gymnastics skills and talents to display to the world in the coming years. As excitement builds towards the 2024 Paris Olympics, these two gymnasts will be the ones to keep an eye on.

In interviews, both McClain and Jones talked openly about how thinking of their families inspires them to persevere despite adversities.

“…doing it for myself and my family and especially my dad,” “And just making it through and pushing through.”

said McClain.

Shilese Jones Lost her father in 2021

Shilese Jones was born in 2002 in Seattle, Washington, but now resides in Auburn. Her nickname is “Shi” and she stands 160 cm tall, and weighs 143 pounds, which is average for a woman her age.

Shilese Jones Father Death
Image: Shilese Jones’s father passed away in 2021 (Source: Shilese’s Instagram)

Her father Sylvester Jones sadly passed away in December 2021. Her mother’s name is Latrice Bryant and she has two sisters, Amari Jones and Naekayla Davis. Jones was homeschooled for high school in 2020 and says biology was her favorite subject. She now attends the University of Florida.

Jones is active on social media and often shares fan praise and personal updates. Recently, a Twitter fan account called “Poor Lawyer” shared a photo of Jones looking glamorous in a red, white, and blue USA leotard with her long hair flowing. Jones re-posted the praise to showcase support on her journey toward making the 2024 Olympics team.

Shilese Jones Gymnastics Career

Her Early Begining

Jones began gymnastics in 2006 at age 4. She started competing at higher levels in 2014 when she qualified as a junior elite gymnast. That year, at the American Classic meet, Jones finished 29th overall but showed promise by placing 4th on vault. She continued improving in 2014 and 2015, moving up in rankings at competitions like the U.S. Classic and National Championships.

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In 2016, Jones had her best results yet, winning bronze medals on both vault and floor exercise at Nationals behind top gymnasts like Chae Campbell and Riley McCusker. Over the next couple of years, Jones continued competing well at the U.S. Classic and qualifying for Nationals, though she had to withdraw in 2017 due to sustaining an injury. Through both successes and setbacks, Jones gained valuable experience on the elite scene from 2014 to 2017 as she honed her skills.

Shilese Jones Professional Career

In 2018, Jones moved up to the senior elite level. She placed highly at competitions like the American Classic, U.S. Classic, and National Championships. Her strong performances earned her a spot on the U.S. national team for the first time. Jones was also selected for the team that won gold at that year’s Pan American Championships. Though she wasn’t named to the final 2018 Worlds team, she gained valuable experience at the Worlds selection camp.

Over the next few years, Jones continued improving and contributing at major meets, winning medals for the U.S. in team events at Jesolo, Pan Ams, and other international competitions. At the 2019 Classics and Championships, she placed within the top 10 all-around and in individual events.

In March 2020, Jones was picked to compete at the City of Jesolo Trophy on a team with Sophia Butler, Leanne Wong, and Kara Eaker. This led to Jones being added back to the U.S. national team roster. However, the Jesolo event was cancelled amid the COVID-19 outbreak in Italy. Instead, it was announced Jones would take part in November. She competed in Japan against gymnasts from countries like Russia and China, alongside her U.S. teammates Butler and eMjae Frazier.

In 2021 and 2022, Jones kept showing her capabilities. She won national silver and gold medals in bars and floor and had more international success, winning world medals in bars and beam. At the 2022 Worlds, Jones earned team, all-around, and uneven bars silver medals.

Most recently in 2023, Jones again represented the U.S. at Worlds, helping them secure another team gold. Individually she won all-around and uneven bars bronze medals, showing her consistency across events. Now a world and national champion and medalist, Jones has set herself as an elite, international-caliber gymnast.

Shilese Jones Injuries

Jones has dealt with a few difficult injuries in her career. In 2017, she fractured her right kneecap on the floor exercise a week before Junior Nationals. She had to miss that meeting and took six months to recover.

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More recently, Jones was out of gymnastics for about four months in 2021 after hurting her back and foot from a car accident. She then injured her left big toe while training in August 2022.

After taking 10 months off to rehab a torn shoulder muscle and hurt ankle, Jones finally returned to competing this August 2023. She has shown dedication in coming back from these injury setbacks to keep pursuing her gymnastics career over the years.