The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games may feel a long way away for some, but the top athletes in the world – like Arizona Sunrays’ Jade Carey – are already beginning forging their path to Olympic glory.

On the eve of the 2018 Cottbus World Cup, the first individual apparatus World Cup series event of this cycle with Olympic qualification on the line, Carey of the U.S. is focused on getting used to the format in her first ever World Cup competition and getting off to a strong start on her path to qualifying an individual spot to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

“We definitely wanted to get into the first competition to get a ‘feel’ for this series. This will help us properly strategize and plan for future competitions,” said Brian Carey, Jade’s coach and father.

The 2018 Cottbus World Cup in Cottbus, Germany will be the first individual apparatus World Cup of the new series, a series where the top finisher after all the individual apparatus World Cup events are completed will qualify an individual spot on that event to the Tokyo Olympics. The FIG individual apparatus World Cup series consists of World Cups in Cottbus, Melbourne, Baku, and Doha.

Jade Carey on beam at the 2018 P&G Championships Photo: John Cheng

As the first World Cup of this individual apparatus World Cup series, many top athletes fresh off success at the 2018 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships will compete alongside Carey in Cottbus, meaning the gymnasts will be in top form and many off World medal-winning performances last month in Doha.

However, while many of her competitors in Cottbus were winning medals at the World Championships in Doha, Carey was training at home in the U.S., preparing her route to the 2020 Olympic Games.

“This is a new series- the format has Jade competing four days in a row, providing qualifying to event finals.”

“It should be an exciting competition! There are a lot of great athletes here,” explained Brian Carey.

Carey’s decision to withdraw herself from the U.S. World’s team selection process and miss out on defending her World silver medals on vault and floor was predicated on a smart Team USA strategy to bring four all-around gymnasts for the U.S. team in Tokyo and individually qualify the two other possible remaining spots.

With the current FIG rules prohibiting an athlete from qualifying a team spot to the Olympic Games for the World Championships- something Team USA did with their gold medal-winning team effort in Doha-, Brian and Jade Carey instead decided to bet on themselves, believing Jade’s incredible talent and power on vault and floor exercise will be among the best in the world to individually qualify a spot to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

While the overall Team USA Olympic qualification strategy for women’s gymnastics is not entirely clear for the remaining two possible individual spots, USA Gymnastics National Team Coordinator Tom Forster will decide on that in the coming weeks according to Carey.

“I plan on talking about that with Tom next week. Right now, we’re just here to do our job and yes, we will have fun doing it!”

USA Gymnastics and Forster may still be deciding on their route to qualify two more individual spots to the Tokyo Olympics along with their team spot they earned as a result of their team gold medal at last month’s World Championships, however nothing is stopping Jade and Brian Carey from doing everything they can to get Jade to Tokyo.

The Carey’s are taking matters into their own hands, backing themselves and Jade’s incredible talent on her two signature events, and over this weekend in Cottbus and the coming year, we’ll find out if it’s enough to book the American 18 year-old a spot competing for the U.S. in Tokyo in two years’ time.

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