Mom of Phoenix Olympic gymnast Jade Carey recounts road to gold medal

Aug 5, 2021, 4:45 AM | Updated: Dec 28, 2021, 7:18 pm

Gold Medalist Jade Carey of Team USA poses with her medal after winning the Women's Floor Final on ...

Gold Medalist Jade Carey of Team USA poses with her medal after winning the Women's Floor Final on day ten of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Gymnastics Centre on August 02, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

(Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

PHOENIX – Jade Carey has worked toward this moment her whole life and it has finally paid off.

After winning the women’s floor exercise on Sunday, the 21-year-old will return home as an Olympic gold medalist on Thursday.

But it’s been a long road for both the Phoenix native and her family.

That includes Carey’s mom, Danielle Greenberg, who couldn’t travel to Tokyo to see her daughter compete in person due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Although family members of most Olympians watched from home, Carey was able to have her dad right by her side as she competes — because he’s her coach.

Greenberg told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Wednesday that Jade has dreamt of going to the Olympics since she was a little girl. It didn’t become a reality until she was about 16 years old.

Once the Olympics were within reach, it was nothing but intense training and extreme sacrifice.

“It took a lot of time, effort and energy not only physically but also emotionally, especially when COVID hit,” Greenberg said.

The whole family worked hard to help Carey accomplish her dream of going to the Olympics – and that goal was prolonged when the pandemic pushed the 2020 Olympics to 2021.

Despite the setback, Carey continued to stay focused on her goal of becoming an Olympian and competing in Tokyo. Although, the pandemic made it that much harder for her.

“I don’t want to say it was isolation, but really, it kind of it was almost,” Greenberg said. “We would joke about, ‘okay what are we going to do on the couch again today?’”

But all the sacrifices made by both Carey and her family were worth it. Her mom described Carey’s gold medal as “fantastic icing on the cake.”

Although her daughter accomplished her dream and what very few gymnasts will ever do, that’s not what Greenberg is most proud of.

It’s her daughter’s character that has her beaming with pride.

Her quiet, calm and humble demeanor was on display for the world to see when Carey stepped on the gym floor in Tokyo and it was felt right here in Phoenix.

“You know, not a lot of people know Jade as a person because she’s a very humble quiet person and these kids got to witness that quiet consistent work ethic,” Heather Lelighowicz with Sunrays Gymnastics & Dance Center said on Wednesday.

Carey has trained at Sunrays Gymnastics & Dance since 2017, according to the gym.

The gym held nightly watch parties to cheer her on while competing in Tokyo.

“They were able to watch her and see her bring all of that to life, really side by side with them and on the same apparatus as them,” Lelighowicz said.

Both Carey’s mom and her supporters from Sunrays plan to welcome her home at Sky Harbor Airport when she lands Thursday night.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

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Mom of Phoenix Olympic gymnast Jade Carey recounts road to gold medal