Big weekend: Two Clark County athletes qualify for Olympics

Kara Winger completes comeback from injury, and Jordan Chiles dazzles in gymnastics

Jordan Chiles is so good, she made the best gymnast in the world cry.

OK, OK, they were all tears of joy, but those tears from Chiles and Simone Biles were real Sunday night on national television.

Chiles, a 2019 graduate of Prairie High School, earned a spot on the United States Olympic Gymnastics Team on Sunday at the trials in St. Louis.

As soon as she completed her floor exercise routine, or should we say as soon as she nailed her routine, tears of joy could be seen before she walked off the platform. It was her final event of the night, and she knew she had made it to her first Olympic team.

Biles, described as the best gymnast of all time, was there to give Chiles a hug.

“I’m so proud of you,” Biles could be heard on the NBC broadcast. “You did it.”

Chiles was the second athlete from Clark County who qualified for the Olympics this weekend.

Skyview graduate Kara Winger is going to her fourth Olympics. She finished second in the javelin at the U.S. Olympic Trials Track and Field in Eugene to make it to Tokyo. 

Kara Winger, shown here in 2017, points to a swimming record board at Skyview High School, showing her mark as Kara Patterson. Of course, Winger is more known for her javelin skills. The Skyview graduate qualified for her fourth Olympic Games this weekend. Photo by Paul Valencia
Kara Winger, shown here in 2017, points to a swimming record board at Skyview High School, showing her mark as Kara Patterson. Of course, Winger is more known for her javelin skills. The Skyview graduate qualified for her fourth Olympic Games this weekend. Photo by Paul Valencia

Also at the track and field trials, Daniel Nehnevaj, a Columbia River High School graduate, finished second in the 20K racewalk. He did not record a qualifying time for the Olympics, though.

Back to gymnastics, Chiles has been exceptional all year in competition. She was considered a near-lock to make the team going into the trials. Still, she had to perform, and she did just that.

In an interview with NBC just after her trip to Tokyo had become official, she talked about how she almost gave up on gymnastics.

“I’m going through so many emotions right now,” Chiles said.

“Yes, 2018, I did not want to do this sport. But all the love and support that I got from everybody definitely encouraged me to continue. And look where I am now,” she said.

Chiles showed off some dance moves as well while she and her teammates celebrated the night.

On Saturday, Winger, who won three state titles for the Skyview Storm as Kara Patterson in 2002, 2003, and 2004, completed a comeback of her own. She suffered a torn ACL last year. Still, she vowed to try to make it to another Olympic appearance.

“Four. Time. Olympian,” she posted on her Instagram account this weekend. “Last one best one. Absolutely humbled. And pumped.”

Note: This story originally noted that Nehnevaj, a 2015 graduate of Columbia River High School, qualified for the Olympics. He finished second in the trials but did not record a qualifying time. We regret the error.

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