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Why do Team USA gymnasts wear different color leotards?

Some members of the U.S. women's gymnastics team wore red leotards, some blue, and it all depends on what events they're in.

While it hasn't been a perfect start to the Tokyo Olympics for the members of the U.S. women's gymnastics team, Simone Biles and company are still going strong. 

After Sunday's first qualifiers, Biles is in the lead by less than half a point in the all-around competition. Three of the top 10 spots belong to Team USA gymnasts (Sunisa Lee currently sits in third place, Jade Carey in 10th).

Aside from some of the teams' stumbles, one other thing pops out watching these women compete. Some of them are wearing different color leotards. That's intentional. During the qualification round, Biles, Lee, Jordan Chiles and Grace McCallum all wore blue leotards, while Carey and MyKayla Skinner sported red ones.

Credit: AP
Mykayla Skinner, of United States, performs on the beam during women's artistic gymnastic qualifications at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Sunday, July 25, 2021, in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

According to Olympic gold medalist Laurie Hernandez, who's providing commentary for NBC in Tokyo, the reason is simple. Blue leotards are for those competing in the team events. The red ones are for those who are competing only in individual events.

Typically, the U.S. would be sending five women to the Olympics, not six. Those five spots are determined at the Olympic Trials: four team members, and one individual event specialist.

Carey punched her ticket to Tokyo before the Trials, based off her performance in the Apparatus World Cup Series over the last three years. All she needed to do to secure her spot was compete in the trials. Carey is a three-time World Championship silver medalist - twice for vault, and once for her floor routine. Skinner is also particularly skilled at vault. Her score at Olympic trials was higher than McCallum's. but McCallum was better on the uneven bars and on the floor.

Credit: AP
Jordan Chiles, right, of the United States, and teammate Simone Biles, fist bump each other prior to their floor exercise performance at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

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