Jade Carey will compete in NCAA gymnastics while training for Paris 2024

By Patricia Duffy | May 9, 2023
Oregon State's Jade Carey competes on beam during the second semifinal of the 2023 NCAA Women's Gymnastics Championships.
Oregon State's Jade Carey competes on beam during the second semifinal of the 2023 NCAA Women's Gymnastics Championships. (© Matthew Smith)

Olympic gold medalist Jade Carey announced Tuesday that she will remain at Oregon State and compete with her college team while training for the Paris 2024 Olympics.

In a post on her social channels, Carey shared a graphic with the headline, “For College, For Country,” that read:

“I am extremely grateful for every opportunity I have been given in gymnastics, and I’m looking forward to the next challenge in my career.

“I have been blessed with an amazing group of people that have pushed me to be better and have helped me grow throughout this journey.

“It has always been a passion of mine to represent the United States and the Beavs.

“With that being said, I am excited to share that I will be remaining at Oregon State while pursuing my dreams of the 2024 Olympics.”

Unlike the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, where she competed as an individual, Carey will be vying for a spot on Team USA’s five-person team this time around. For 2020, nations could qualify a four-person team plus a max of two individuals, but in 2024, like in 2016 and 2012, that number has reverted to five.

While the latest wave of elite athletes turned NCAA stars – including Carey, Jordan Chiles, and Leanne Wong – have proven that it is possible to balance both elite and college, despite different demands, Carey’s decision marks a departure from the typical deferment.

Chiles, for instance, is deferring her junior year at UCLA and will return to Texas to train at her elite gym, World Champions Centre. Florida’s Kayla DiCello, a 2020 Olympic team alternate, recently announced she’s deferring to return to Hill’s Gymnastics under her elite coach, Kelli Hill. Olympic all-around champion Suni Lee said sayonara to the NCAA altogether, leaving Auburn this spring after just two seasons with the Tigers. DiCello’s teammate Wong has yet to decide whether she will defer or train at Florida in the lead-up.

Gymnasts don’t decide to defer just because the routines are different. They are different; there are more skills and a significantly higher level of difficulty is required of a U.S. elite competing for the Olympic team versus in college. In addition to a more demanding training schedule and emphasizing upgrades, there’s also an accelerated timeline during the Olympic year. Everything is pushed up, starting with the U.S. Classic in May (instead of July/August) and U.S. Championships and Olympic Trials taking place weeks apart in May/June (championships are also usually in August). Not to mention Winter Cup, the U.S. elite kickoff, in February. NCAA season, meanwhile, runs from the first week of January to mid-April.

While Carey’s decision might be surprising to some, the 22-year-old has been particularly vocal about how much she loves competing in the NCAA. She told Gymnastics Now last month that college gymnastics has made her “a lot more confident.” It’s brought her out of her shell and made her, arguably, more consistent.

And then there’s the coaching aspect of the decision, which isn’t as much of a challenge for Carey as it might be for others since her dad, Brian, is her elite coach. He visits campus often, and we assume those visits will be even more frequent next year.

Confidence + consistency + difficulty + training at a place that she loves = the perfect recipe for Jade Carey to make her second Olympic team.