At the Chalk Bowl with Team USA

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At last week’s U.S. Classic in Hoffman Estates, we got to spend some time chatting with our favorite elites. In an effort to make things a little more fun by not asking the same questions over and over again, we did a quick nine-question roundtable and got some entertaining answers from everyone involved. Read what Morgan Hurd, Jordan Chiles, Trinity Thomas, Sunisa Lee, Ragan Smith, Emma Malabuyo, and Riley McCusker had to say!

What sport would you do if you couldn’t do gymnastics?

Morgan: Maybe…ballet?

Jordan: Track and field!

Trinity: I would want to try a few. My sister plays volleyball. She also does track, too. I would also want to try diving.

Sunisa: I would do volleyball. [laughs]

Ragan: I think I would do track or dance.

Emma: I would do ice skating.

Riley: Probably dance. Especially ballet.

What’s your favorite thing to do outside of gymnastics?

Morgan: Read.

Jordan: Probably going shopping.

Trinity: I like to hang out with my friends.

Sunisa: I love to hang out with my family because I don’t get to be around them that much since I’m always in the gym.

Ragan: I like to color, walk my dog, go swimming with my brothers on the weekends, and hanging out with my friends.

Emma: I like to hang out, go out to dinner or watch a movie with my friends.

Riley: Be in the ocean! I love boogie boarding and paddle boarding.

What’s the one thing in your gym bag you can’t live without?

Morgan: Tylenol. [laughs]

Jordan: My roller. I love my roller.

Trinity: Probably my water bottle. I drink a lot of water.

Sunisa: My grips.

Ragan: I used to hate using them, but I would have to say my grips.

Emma: My grips.

Riley: Grips.

What’s a fall or mistake that wasn’t so funny at the time, but now you can look back on and laugh?

Morgan: I feel like I just had one! One time after I had just started Maloneys and Ricnas, my goal was to do a half routine and I was trying to a Chinese situp but I didn’t let go quickly enough and I kind of bounced back onto my butt on the bar! Thankfully it didn’t hurt.

Jordan: When I was first learning my shaposh half, I went for it by myself and I flung off the bars, flipped in the air, and landed on my feet. I thought it was hilarious!

Trinity: When I was doing a double Yurchenko, I did a handspring and put my feet onto the table and then flipped off.

Sunisa: It’s been a while since I’ve had a cool wipeout…but I have had…rough meets? [laughs]

Ragan: I was doing a circle full and I planched forward on the high bar and my feet got caught and I hit my butt on the bar and I kipped out of it and somehow caught the low bar.

Emma: I was on beam and this girl from my gym was doing vault. I was doing my beam dismount towards the vault runway. I was doing a double pike and this girl was walking back and I landed on my head directly on her!

Riley: I don’t think falls are that funny… [laughs]

What music would you use for your floor routine if you could do a song with lyrics?

Morgan: Probably something from Hamilton. Maybe…”Satisfied.” I love that one.

Jordan: ‘Despacito!’ That’s my favorite song right now.

Trinity: I don’t know!

Sunisa: Any song by Justin Bieber!

Ragan: I like the song ‘Me and My Girls’ by Selena Gomez.

Emma: I would have the song ‘Unstoppable’ by Sia. I think it would really help me with performing my routine.

Riley: Hamilton!

What’s one thing your coach always has to remind you to do?

Morgan: To breathe!

Jordan: There are lots of things! But I would have to say pointing my toes.

Trinity: Probably to point my toes.

Sunisa: There’s way too many.

Ragan: When I do something weird with my face when I mess up, Kim always tells me “don’t do that!” She also says no matter what happens on one event, the next one is always different so I can move on.

Emma: To believe in myself, and if there’s a mistake, I need to stay present and move on.

Riley: Basically just to stay focused.

What’s your all-time greatest moment in the sport?

Morgan: Probably making the national team.

Jordan: Coming back last year to Italy was a big moment for me since I hadn’t competed in a long time.

Trinity: When I won floor competing at Jesolo in 2016.

Sunisa: When I got second on bars at Gymnix.

Ragan: Getting my pak. I was learning both a pak and a shootover at my old gym. I ended up getting my pak, but it wasn’t really a pak because I would arch my back and my feet would nearly be touching my head. When I got to Texas Dreams, I finally started doing it correctly.

Emma: When I got my pak, I was like, ‘oh my gosh!’ It took me forever because I could never kip out of it! So when I finally got it, I thought ‘I’m a REAL gymnast now.’

Riley: Probably getting my first release move on bars.

What’s your favorite post-meet or workout snack?

Jordan: Honey roasted peanuts.

Trinity: Fruit.

Sunisa: I don’t really have one… [Coach Jess Graba stepped in at this point and laughed, saying ‘You love pho. Just say it.’ Sunisa agreed. :)]

Ragan: I usually eat a protein bar just to give me some energy.

Emma: Strawberries. I always have to have strawberries.

Riley: I love almond butter on rice cakes.

Hi, it’s Lauren. I can’t find Morgan’s answer? I’m sure it was a great one! Don’t hate me.

What’s your goal in gymnastics?

Morgan: The Olympics.

Jordan: To compete at worlds this year, but my big goal is the 2020 Olympics.

Trinity: To make worlds this year and the 2020 Olympics. And I want to compete in college.

Sunisa: My biggest goal is to make it to the 2020 Olympics.

Ragan: The 2020 Olympics.

Emma: The 2020 Olympics.

Riley: 2020.

Article by Joe Rinaldi and Lauren Hopkins

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11 thoughts on “At the Chalk Bowl with Team USA

  1. Omg Morgan and Riley love Hamilton, more reasons to love both of them. To be honest, reading this makes me love all of these girls so much more because you really do get to KNOW them more, not just their gymnastics or in interviews about their performance.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! That was the goal…like we know everyone wants to hit four for four and go to the Olympics, and I’m sure they’re all super bored of getting those questions that they answer constantly. But this definitely made everyone open up a bit more and give more of a picture into who they are as people!


  2. The most heartbreaking moment: when 7 super talented gymnasts say “2020 Olympics” as their goal, not to mention that Locklear, O’Keefe, Perea and (at least) 3 of the Final Five all have that same goal, yet only 6 will actually achieve that dream. Less than half of these of girls- just a small number of a much larger pool who are also chasing the olympics- will actually get to go which kind of guts me, although we’re faced with that reality every four years.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m convinced this interview is a fake because not a single person said they wanted to hit 4 for 4; no one’s goal was to just go out there and show what they’ve been working so hard on in the gym; and no one explained that all these girls are their best friends and they just love them so much and they are all like sisters.


    Very fun piece.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Oh my gosh, I NEED to see a floor routine to Hamilton, like, yesterday. I was literally listening to Satisfied ten minutes ago. And “Unstoppable” by Sia is on my workout playlist… these girls have great music taste! 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I went back to read this post because I loved it and I realized the fail Emma is talking about here is the same one she had the video of for her #gymnasticsfailchallenge.


    • YES! As soon as she posted the video I was like YESSSSS THAT’S THE ONE!!!! It’s so good. Literally hilarious and probably SUPER painful for that poor kid lol.


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