American Evita Griskenas qualifies for Olympics in rhythmic gymnastics

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Evita Griskenas is going back to the Olympics, but this time she’ll be the only U.S. rhythmic gymnast at the Games.

Griskenas, a 22-year-old who placed 12th in the rhythmic all-around in Tokyo, qualified for Paris in her last opportunity, grabbing the one available spot at the Pan American Games.

In rhythmic gymnastics, women perform four separate routines with a hoop, ball, clubs and a ribbon.

Griskenas is the daughter of Lithuanian immigrants who were international fitness champions. She is a rising senior at Columbia University.

Her 12th-place finish in Tokyo marked the third-best Olympic result ever for an American in the event. The U.S.’ best finish in any rhythmic gymnastics event is ninth.

Later Thursday, the U.S. missed qualifying for the Olympic rhythmic group event by one spot. Mexico edged the Americans by 3.45 points at Pan Ams.

The U.S. placed 11th and 14th in the group at the last two Olympics. Before that, it never qualified a group to the Games outside of participating as the host nation in Atlanta in 1996 in the event’s Olympic debut.

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