MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Reigning Olympic champion Sunisa Lee, six-time world championship medalist Shilese Jones and national runner-up Skye Blakely are all facing health concerns ahead of the U.S. Olympic trials.

Lee, who has spent the better part of two years fighting multiple kidney issues, felt ill while training on Wednesday, though longtime coach Jess Graba doesn’t believe it will hinder Lee’s ability to compete when the trials begin on Friday night.

“She was a little nauseous this morning,” Graba said. “She’s fine. She got her assignment done. I was like, ‘You don’t need to keep going. Just be done.’”

The 21-year-old Lee has been dealing with kidney problems that have hindered her training and caused her weight to fluctuate wildly for more than 18 months. She arrived at trials in her hometown coming off a promising performance at the U.S. Championships, where she was a solid fourth in the all-around while looking impressive on uneven bars and balance beam, her two best events.

“She competes well,” Graba said. “She knows her scores transfer internationally well. So I think everybody is aware of that. So I think (trials is) just showing that she can be Suni (will be enough).”

Lee isn’t the only contender coming in at less than 100%.

Jones, perhaps the best American gymnast not named Simone Biles, trained with her right shoulder taped to help her deal with a slight tear in her labrum.

The 21-year-old Jones pulled herself out of the U.S. Championships on the day the competition was scheduled to start earlier this month. She successfully petitioned to get into the trials, then took a week off to rest before building back up with the hope of being selected to the five-woman Olympic team on Sunday night.

“She’s feeling pretty good,” said Sarah Korngold, Jones’ coach. “The biggest issue right now is just like routine endurance. Like, just we don’t have enough repetitions.”

Korngold said Jones was in a significant amount of pain ahead of the U.S. Championships but is in a better place during her second trip to the Olympic trials. Jones has been dealing with the shoulder intermittently for two years, with Korngold describing what happened earlier this month as a “flare-up.”

“Hopefully she’s proven enough to the selection committee that she does build fitness quickly and she does get in ‘routine shape’ fairly fast and we have more time (until Paris),” Korngold said. “So hopefully she does enough here to show that she’s ready to go.”

Blakely, who tore a ligament in her elbow at the 2021 Olympic trials, had to be wheeled off the floor on Wednesday evening with a potentially serious leg injury. The 19-year-old was in tears as she went to be examined. Blakely came to Minneapolis as a leading contender to make the team following a dazzling performance at nationals.

USA Gymnastics strategic lead Alicia Sacramone Quinn, who is part of the three-person selection committee, said the team will be chosen on who the best five athletes are on Sunday night, not who might be ready in time for women’s qualifying in Paris on July 28.

“We always kind of have to look at what’s being done right now in front of us,” Quinn said. “Because that’s what we can actually bank on.”


AP Summer Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/2024-paris-olympic-games