Jade Carey

Jade Carey shows the gold medal she won for her floor routine at the 2020 Summer Olympics.

Friends, family and state leaders honored Jade Carey for her floor exercise gold medal at Arizona Sunrays on Aug. 17. 

The 2020 Summer Olympics champ, a Mountain Ridge High School graduate, trained at Arizona Sunrays for the games.

Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego and Tempe Vice Mayor Randy Keating honored Carey for her achievements and accolades she brought home to Arizona. They awarded Carey with a special proclamation from their respective cities. 

Aug. 17, 2021, was “Jade Carey Day” in Phoenix and Tempe.

“The city of Phoenix gets our name from a bird that rose from the ashes,” Gallego said. “The hope was that people here would rise from tough circumstances to flourish and, Jade, you have done just that and really made this community proud.”

Former Arizona State Sen. Steve Smith, who is the Arizona state director for the American Federation for Children, was there to honor Carey and give her an award.

Smith gifted “The Patriot Award” to Carey, which is primarily given to law enforcement or military personnel, but national figures can receive it as well. The last national figure to win was the rock band Kiss.

“We think you are so awesome, so great and such an inspiration,” Smith said.

Rep. Greg Stanton shared similar sentiments toward Carey in his remarks. 

“My family, like millions of others, watched those Olympics, and we saw you overcome adversity,” Stanton said. “It didn’t go right every time, but you overcame that adversity and rose to the challenge. You demonstrated the greatest attribute that you can demonstrate: That is resiliency. You inspire all of us, because we can all learn that lesson of overcoming adversity.”

For the first time, the Arizona Sunrays retired a gymnast’s locker, in this case Carey’s.

Pam Evans wrapped up the celebration. She’s the Arizona Sunrays team manager and Carey’s balance beam and floor exercise coach. Evans radiated with pride and joy for Carey.

“I was able to coach her on beam and floor, and it’s just been a privilege to see her grow as an individual, as a woman and as an athlete,” Evans said. “She’s been through a lot, especially the last year and a half with the postponement of the Olympics, not going to college when she wanted to. It’s all happening. It was all worth it. I’m so proud of you, Jade.” 

After delaying college for three years to train for the Olympics, Carey headed to Oregon State University to be a member of its gymnastics team.  

Carey, who’s set to perform as part of the Athleta Presents Gold Over America Tour at Gila River Arena, is excited for what is ahead, but she hasn’t and won’t forget what made her into the athlete and person she is today.

“I just want to say a huge thank-you to all of you for supporting me on this journey,” Carey said. “It definitely has not been easy, but you all make it easier, and I just can’t thank you enough. Especially to my family, friends, medical team and to my coaches, it wouldn’t have been possible without all of them.”