Jordan Chiles was one of the gymnasts who competed for Team USA at this summer's Tokyo Olympics.
She'll be on an upcoming episode of Taraji P. Henson's Facebook Watch show, "Peace of Mind with Taraji."
In an exclusive clip, Chiles discusses the significant strains that come with elite gymnastics.
When the pressure was at its highest, Jordan Chiles executed.
The 20-year-old American gymnast shined on the world stage when she served as an emergency substitute for Simone Biles at this summer's Tokyo Olympics. With just a few minutes' notice and a medal on the line, Chiles took on the uneven bars - far from her strongest event - during the second rotation of the team all-around final. Just a few days after a shaky showing in the qualification event, she posted a 14.166 to keep Team USA in contention.
She nailed her replacement role again in the following rotation, earning a 13.433 on the balance beam to best two of the three Russians and help the Americans climb back into gold medal contention.
When all was said and done, Chiles and her other "Fighting Four" teammates came home with an impressive, hard-fought silver medal from the event. Given the context - the chaotic nature of Biles' departure, the gymnasts' last-second notification that their schedules had shifted, and the intense spotlight of Olympics artistic gymnastics - what Chiles accomplished was nothing short of remarkable.
Surely, her steely determination and successful showing will be a major part of her gymnastics legacy. But Chiles' ability to perform under extreme stress came from years of experience managing the pressures of elite gymnastics. And that wore on her.
During an episode of Taraji P. Henson's Facebook Watch show, "Peace of Mind with Taraji," set to air Monday, Chiles addresses the toll competing at the highest levels took on her mental health and general well being. And in a clip exclusively provided to Insider, she describes how gymnastics shifted from a fun hobby to a stressful job, the expectations that came with competing at the highest level, and how most people don't understand the full extent of what it takes to be an elite gymnast.
"It sucks," Chiles says frankly. "It really does suck, because behind the scenes is totally different than what we're showing."
At the start of the clip, the Vancouver, Washington, native explains that "the pressure didn't come until I was 15 [or] 16 years old." But once it arrived, it made its presence known.
Chiles says "the expectation" placed on gymnasts was so great that it consumed their entire lives. She'd spend the vast majority of her time training in the gym, but still would be expected to fulfill social media obligations and "do this, that, or the other."
"But they don't understand what we go through to lead up to the moment [the public sees]," Chiles says. "Gymnastics is a 24-7 sport. You don't have time for vacations like everybody else. You don't have time to go to proms and homecomings."
"They don't know what happens in our family," she adds. "They don't know all the other logistics of things that go on in our lives."
The full episode of "Peace of Mind with Taraji" featuring Chiles debuts Monday at 12 p.m. ET on Facebook Watch and Taraji P. Henson's Facebook page. But for now, check out Insider's exclusive clip below:
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