Olympic gold medalist Jade Carey on beginning her sophomore year at OSU

By John Notarianni (OPB)
Sept. 3, 2022 5 p.m.

The gymnast gained more accolades during her summer break, including being named USA Gymnastics Athlete of the Year.

There aren’t many college students who are headed back to class with an Olympic gold medal in their trophy case, but Jade Carey is not an ordinary college student.


The 22-year-old gymnast and Oregon State sophomore won gold for her floor routine at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. This summer, she added two more major accolades to her already sterling gymnastics career: last month, she won vault at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships in Tampa. She was also recently named the USA Gymnastics Athlete of the Year.

The award is especially meaningful to Carey because it was voted on by her colleagues: other gymnasts and their coaches.

Olympian and OSU sophomore Jade Carey.

Olympian and OSU sophomore Jade Carey.


“I honestly wasn’t expecting it,” Carey said. “I think I was able to show how much I went through in a year and people really recognized that.”

Part of that sense of accomplishment comes from her triumph in vault, an event where she had difficulty during the 2020 Olympics.

“Floor is still my favorite event,” she said, “but I don’t think that I’m solely focused more on one event than the other. I’m really dedicated to proving that I can be a successful all-around gymnast.”


Carey begins her sophomore year at OSU as a kinesiology student with a full schedule. In addition to classes and NCAA competition, she announced this spring that she intends to simultaneously continue competing at an elite level.

“It’s something that I’ve never done before,” she said, “and, really, anyone has done before.”

Carey’s busy training and travel schedule mean that she’ll be taking her OSU classes online.

“Typically, a normal day would be training in the morning, and then doing whatever I need to do after that to take care of my body,” she said. “Then, going home or going somewhere like a coffee shop to do my schoolwork online.”

“The key for me will be focusing on getting through one day at a time, and making sure that I still take time for myself — to do something other than school and gymnastics, to make sure that that doesn’t just consume my entire life,” she laughed.

Carey acknowledges the importance of caring for her mental state with the same intentionality as her physical state, especially after her Olympic teammate Simone Biles made international headlines when she chose to withdraw from the 2020 team finals to protect her own mental health.

“I do think it’s important for everyone, especially high-level athletes, to take care of themselves and know when they need a break,” Carey said, “and know when to step back, to make sure they’re doing ok and getting the help they may need.”

So, what does an Olympic athlete do to unwind after classes at OSU? Carey says she’s been doing something a lot of us do: taking advantage of the Oregon wilderness.

“This summer I’ve had a bit of free time and I’ve really enjoyed exploring around Corvallis and hiking here and there with a few friends,” she says. “That’s something I’ve really enjoyed a lot.”

Listen to Jade Carey’s interview with OPB’s John Notarianni using the audio player above.