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U.S. gymnasts usher in 2021 Tokyo Olympics with private opening ceremony

The men’s and women’s gymnastics teams compete Friday and Saturday night, respectively

MyKayla Skinner, Simone Biles, and the rest of the U.S. women’s Olympic gymnastics team pose for a photo.
MyKayla Skinner, center right, Simone Biles, center left, and the rest of the U.S. women’s Olympic gymnastics team pose for a photo in a private opening ceremony on Friday, July 23, 2021.
Simone Biles Twitter screenshot

Olympians from across the world participated in the opening ceremony of the 2021 Tokyo Olympics early Friday morning, including those from Team USA. Not among them, however, were the U.S. men’s and women’s gymnastics teams.

That is because the American gymnasts held their own private opening ceremony.

It isn’t unusual for gymnasts to not take part in the opening ceremony. Gymnasts regularly don’t attend the celebration because they compete so early in the Games and the long and intensive proceedings aren’t conducive to them being at their physical peaks.

The men are slated to compete in their qualification round Friday night, while the women — including former Utah gymnast MyKayla Skinner and future Utah gymnast Grace McCallum — will start qualification competition late Saturday night/early Sunday morning.

With the ever-present threat of COVID-19, both the men’s and women’s teams are staying in a hotel away from the athlete’s village in an attempt to limit potential exposure.

The complete competition schedule for gymnastics can be found at NBCOlympics.com.