Exclusive: Inside Olympian Jordyn Wieber's Engagement to Chris Brooks
Their talents brought them to Tokyo. Time led them to each other. Olympians Jordyn Wieber and Chris Brooks first met a decade ago in Tokyo, Japan, while representing the US Men's and Women's teams at the 2011 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships. Initially, the pair forged a friendship—Wieber was "16 and afraid of boys," she laughs, while her future husband was already in his twenties. They remained friendly while competing in the sport (she was among the "Fierce Five" at the 2012 Summer Olympics, while Brooks continued to be recognized for his athleticism even through the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro).
In 2016, their relationship turned romantic. Wieber and Brooks both represented Team USA during a 36-city trek across the country for Kellogg's Tour of Gymnastics. "We spent three months on the road and reconnected our friendship. I've always been mature for my age, but our personalities really meshed," she recalls to The Knot. "He's really fun and I'm a bit more serious, and it just works. We connected on that tour and after it ended, we weren't sure if it was 'real life' for a moment… Then, we were long-distance for three years."
Today, they live and work together in Arkansas—both are coaches at the University of Arkansas, in fact, as Wieber was hired as the women's team head coach in 2019. "We learn how to communicate and it takes a lot of separating work and our home lives," she explains. "We got in this habit of getting ready for work together, and then we drive separately. Before we leave, we hug or kiss each other goodbye and that's our transition. When we get to the office, it's work. At home, we're in our relationship. It's helped us draw the line."
In early October, Wieber flew off to her home state of Michigan to be inducted into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame. While at home, she celebrated her nephew's birthday with family members too. The last person she expected to attend the party was Brooks, whom she believed to still be in Arkansas.
"When we talked about my dream proposal, I said two things: I wanted my family around and I wanted good pictures. He nailed both of them," she laughs. "My whole family was there. He walks in the door and my jaw drops to the door because I thought he was in Arkansas. As soon as he walked in, I knew the proposal was happening. He said, 'I had to fly all the way here to ask you a question?' And then he dropped to one knee."
Jordyn Wieber's Engagement Ring Details
After dating for five years, the couple designed a ring together with a jeweler in Tulsa. "I'm really particular about everything I like and don't like, so we picked out the setting and the diamond together," she recalls. "But—I didn't see the final product. I was surprised when I saw it… The band is yellow gold and there's a three-carat, round diamond in the middle. I wanted a thicker band because I have long fingers and big hands."
She laughs, "So I told him it had to be proportionate to the size of my hands."
Jordyn Wieber and Husband-to-Be Chris Brooks' Wedding Plans
While just engaged, Wieber already has an idea for what type of wedding she wants to throw. "Comfortable, family-oriented, but still formal," she remarks. "We have a ton of friends of family members. Plus, both of us being Olympians has allowed us to live in different places and meet lots of people… We want more of a party than a wedding. That's solid in my vision in terms of vibe and guest list."
The design will likely be representative of Wieber's home aesthetic too. "I love everything white and metallic," she says. "My home is neutrals with pops of gold. I also want a lot of flowers."
Though the couple will soon embark on the checklist, she is particularly intent on two portions of the wedding planning process. Wieber will be hiring a wedding planner. ("My job is so intense, I'm making a thousand decisions all day and I want to make it simple," she says. "If you show me three things, I can tell you what I like and don't like.) The bride-to-be also plans to use her platform while wedding planning to be an extension of her daily mission: to advocate on behalf of women everywhere.
"Currently, my life right now, post-Olympics, I'm an NCAA head coach and I coach 18-22-year-old young women every day," she reflects. "I help them grow through gymnastics. My personal experience has brought me to a place where I'm now an advocate for survivors of childhood sexual abuse—in not only our sport but also across all sports. I am now an advocate for women."