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How Gymnast Shilese Jones’ Late Dad Is Inspiring Her Olympic Journey

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Not to put the gold medal before the (vaulting) horse, but should gymnast Shilese Jones find herself wearing a particular piece of shiny jewelry at the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris, she has a dedication all worked out. 

“It wouldn’t just be for me and my team, but also for my dad,” the 21-year-old exclusively told E! News at NBC Sports’ Road to Paris Bus Tour. Much like his determined and preternaturally talented daughter, Sylvester Jones Jr., who died in 2021 after a prolonged battle with kidney disease “was the one that was in the gym day in and day out,” she continued, “so it definitely would go out to him.” 

He and wife Latrice Bryant were the ones to notice a 4-year-old Shi, as she’s known to friends, “just flipping around the house,” the athlete recounted. “My parents were like, ‘Let’s try to put her in a gym.’ And I actually was horrible at the compulsory levels. I lost everything, wasn’t really paying attention.” 

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