Jade Carey has been competing as an elite gymnast for all of three months. 

Yet the Phoenix 17-year-old is among four women on the U.S. team at the World Artistic Gymnastics Championships, which began on Monday in Montreal with men’s qualifying. The U.S. women start on Wednesday. Individual only and not team titles are decided at Worlds this year.

Carey’s sudden rise to the highest non-Olympic international meet in the sport is the stuff of legend. The only other recent jump from Junior Olympic gymnast to the World Championships was Kayla Williams, who began 2009 at JO level 10 and finished as the first American to win vault at Worlds.

Carey won vault and was second on floor exercise at the P&G Championships in August, just her third senior meet. From there, it was on to the World team camp where she showed well enough to survive the cut from 10 to four and make the first World Championships teams under Valeri Liukin, the new U.S. National team coordinator replacing retired Martha Karolyi.

“It’s amazing, it all came in the blink of an eye,” said Carey, a senior at Glendale Mountain Ridge High School who trains at Oasis Gymnastics in Peoria, where her father, Brian, is gym manager and coach. “My coaches were a big part in helping me get here. One thing after another just kept happening, and it was my time.”

The typical path to the top in U.S. gymnastics is the one that MyKayla Skinner of Gilbert took. She progressed from JO level 10 nationals in 2009 to junior elite through 2011, to competing as a senior elite and qualifying for the 2014 World Championships then becoming a 2016 Olympic alternate.

Skinner is now a sophomore at Utah and not competing internationally this year. Nor are any of the Rio gold medal-winning Final Five team: Simone Biles, Laurie Hernandez, Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas and Madison Kocian.

That turnover created room for someone like Carey, who competed in her final Junior Olympic nationals in May 2016 then trained for a full year to prepare for what has proved to be a remarkable transition to senior elite.

“We knew it was going to take some time,” Brian Carey said. “Valeri kept telling us just wait, keep training, don’t worry it will all come together. We listened to him.”

Liukin became aware of Carey after a JO national camp and since late last year has been inviting her to National team training camps. 

“He saw her potential and kept inviting us back every month,” Brian Carey said. “She kept working and getting better. For her, it was taking our time and not trying to do it too early or too fast. I thought she had talent a long time ago, but she needed to go at a pace she could handle and still love the sport. We just let it develop and the confidence started to come.”

At the American Classic in early July, Carey won vaulting, floor exercise and balance beam then at the end of the month won vault and floor at the U.S. Classic.

“Vault and tumbling have always been my stronger events,” said Carey, who is committed to Oregon State for college gymnastics. Like Skinner, second at P&G nationals on vault from 2014-16 and vault bronze medalist at 2014 Worlds, Carey is among only a few Americans training two different high-end vaults. 

On floor, to tango music, Carey’s first passes are filled with difficulty including a double double tuck, full double layout and front double full.

“We were always throwing bigger skills and training all kinds of stuff on tramps into foam pits,” said Brian Carey, who owned a gym before joining the staff at Oasis a dozen years ago. “Just finishing them up and putting them on floor and working on her floor presentation takes time. She’ll flip and twist all day long, but she doesn’t necessarily like to dance.”

Carey, the second-oldest of four children, is interested in a sports-medicine career. Whether she’ll delay starting college to pursue the 2020 Tokyo Olympics depends in part of how it goes at Worlds and on into 2018. 

“Some people have brought it (Tokyo 2020) up, but we’re not going there,” her father said. “We aren’t thinking about tomorrow until today is over. One thing at a time.”

Alex Naddour, 26, of Queen Creek, bronze medalist on pommel horse at the Rio Olympics, is back at Worlds for the fifth time. He is five-time U.S. pommel horse champion including this year and was fourth at nationals in still rings.

Naddour scored 14.966 on pommel horse and 14.633 on rings Monday and could make the individual final in both events. 

Also on the U.S. men’s team as an alternate is Allan Bower, 22, of Chandler/University of Oklahoma, who was all-around silver medalist and pommel horse bronze medalist at nationals.

Another Valley gymnast, Andrew Davis of Goodyear, qualified for the Trampoline & Tumbling World age-group championships, Nov. 16-19 in Sofia, Bulgaria. Davis, 17, trains at Scottsdale Gymnastics and Trampoline and attends Goodyear Millennium High School.

World Artistic Gymnastics Championships

When: Oct. 2-8.

Where: Olympic Stadium, Montreal, Canada.

TV: Channel 12, 11 a.m. Saturday.

Online: USAGymWorlds.com.