NBC Insider Exclusive

Create a free profile to get unlimited access to exclusive show news, updates, and more!

Sign Up For Free to View
NBC Insider Olympics

Who Is U.S. Gymnast Shilese Jones, Who's Working Toward Olympic Dream with Father's Memory Close To Her Heart?

Shilese Jones has proved to be a standout at the uneven bars and floor exercises, but hopes to take her career to the next level this summer in Paris.

By Chris Phelan
Shilese Jones of United States looks on during Women's All-Around Final on day six of the 2022 Gymnastics World Championships

The competition for the coveted spots on the U.S. women's gymnastics team that will feature in Paris in just a few months is fierce – while household names like Simone Biles and Gabby Douglas are getting a lot of attention, they're not the only ones who perfectly encapsulate the Olympic spirit.

One of those world-class gymnasts hoping to make her mark – and make her family proud – in the 2024 Summer Olympics is Shilese Jones. 

Here's everything fans need to know about her.

RELATED: U.S. Gymnast and Olympic Hopeful Leanne Wong Is In It For the Fun: "I'm Really Enjoying the Sport"

Who is Shilese Jones?

Shilese Jones is one of the favorites to land a spot on coveted Team USA in Paris. Dazzling fans with a gymnastics style best described as ballerina-like, Shilese plans to capture gold in 2024, taking skills she's honed since she was a child to the biggest stage in the world.

Shilese Jones of Team United States competes on Balance Beam during the Women's All Around Final on Day Seven of the 2023 Artistic Gymnastics World Championship

The 21-year-old Seattle, Washington native has steadily established herself as a presence on the U.S. Gymnastics scene, winning the uneven bars and floor exercise events at the 2022 U.S. National Championships, then following it up with another first-place finish in the uneven bars at the 2023 National Championships. And judging by her recent Instagram training videos, Team USA could very well already have their ace in the hole for 2024. 

How Old Was Shilese Jones When She First Started Gymnastics?

Like many world-class athletes, Shilese showed talent at an early age. During a December 2023 interview with E! News, Shilese spoke openly about her parents' impact on her life and career. In fact, she credits her career to her parents, Sylvester Jones Jr. and Latrice Bryant, who noticed her "just flipping around the house" when she was just 4 years old. 

Her parents put her in a gym to show off her skills (as any good parents would). However, it took a while for lessons to pay off because, as Shilese recalls, she was a bit of a slow learner! 

RELATED: How Olympic Diver Greg Louganis Continues to Pay It Forward After Retiring From Competing

"I actually was horrible at the compulsory levels," she admitted. "I lost everything, wasn't really paying attention."

Her performances at events in the 2010s left a lot to be desired, frequently finishing near the back of the pack in events like the U.S. National Championships and the U.S. Classic. However, a 2018 team gold medal at the 2018 Pan American Championships catapulted her to new heights, and by the 2022 World Championships, she established herself as a perennial contender for Team USA. 

Just as comfortable competing on the uneven bars as she is in the all-around events, Shilese currently stands side-by-side with living legends like Gabby Douglas and Simone Biles as the Olympic hopefuls march on toward Paris. 

Will Shilese Jones Compete in the 2024 Olympics?

Close up of Shilese Jones during Day Nine of the 2023 Artistic Gymnastics World Championships

Although Team USA's Olympic squad isn't finalized yet, Shilese is one of the frontrunners to claim a coveted spot on the team – a strong performance in the remaining pre-Olympic gymnastics competitions could cement her standing. As she embarks on the road to Paris, she will have her dad in mind – Shilese's father Sylvester died in 2021. 

When speaking about the possibility of competing in the 2024 Olympic games, Shilese revealed to E! News that it's not just the allure of bringing home a gold medal that drives her these days – she aims to make her father proud.

"It wouldn't just be for me and my team, but also for my dad," she revealed.

RELATED: Snoop Dogg Dancing with His Little Granddaughters in His Studio Is Too Cute for Words

No matter what happens between now and the 2024 Summer Games, Shilese understands the gravity of what she's been working toward – and we don't doubt that she'll have millions of fans cheering her on every step of the way.

"Going out there and really being on the Olympic stage of Paris would probably be the best," Shilese acknowledged. "I've worked my whole career to get where I'm at today."

You'll be able to watch the 2024 Team USA Olympic Trials for Gymnastics June 27-30, broadcast exclusively on NBC and Peacock. And you can catch all the Olympics action beginning July 26 on the NBC family of networks and every event will streamed live on Peacock.

Read more about: