Simone Biles, the most decorated gymnast in US history, added another milestone to her illustrious career by winning her 8th US all-around title at the US Gymnastics Championships in San Jose, California on Sunday. Biles surpassed Alfred Jochim, who held the record of seven titles since 1933, and became the oldest woman to win the event at age 26.
Biles dazzles with Yurchenko double pike vault
Biles, who returned to competition after a two-year hiatus following the Tokyo Olympics, showed no signs of rust or nerves as she dominated the field with her signature skills and difficulty. On Friday, she made history by becoming the first woman to land a Yurchenko double pike vault in competition, a move that has only been done by a handful of men. The vault involves a round-off onto the springboard, a back handspring onto the vaulting table, and two flips in a piked position before landing.
The Yurchenko double pike vault is so difficult that it has not yet been assigned a value by the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG), but Biles said she hopes it will be fairly rated. “I feel like now we just have to get what we’re worth,” she told NBC Sports. “It’s kind of disappointing that nobody knows where it’s going to be [rated].”
Biles clinches title with flawless floor routine
Biles had a comfortable lead heading into the final rotation on Sunday, but she did not hold back on her floor exercise, where she is the reigning world and Olympic champion. She performed four tumbling passes, including a triple-twisting double back flip and a double-twisting double back flip with a half twist, both named after her. She scored a 15.400, the highest of the night on any event, and sealed her victory with a total score of 118.400.
“I’ve been doing it for so long. I feel like I don’t think about numbers – I think about my performance,” Biles said after the competition. “I think overall I hit eight for eight. I guess it’s a lucky number this year.”
Biles leads young and talented US team
Biles was not the only star of the US Gymnastics Championships, which served as a selection event for the World Championships in October. Shilese Jones, a 21-year-old from Ohio, finished second behind Biles with a score of 114.500, earning her first national medal and a spot on the world team. Leanne Wong, an 18-year-old from Kansas, placed third with 113.900, also securing her place on the world team.
Other gymnasts who impressed at the championships include Sunisa Lee, who won the uneven bars title and finished fourth in the all-around; Kayla DiCello, who won the balance beam title and finished fifth in the all-around; and Jordan Chiles, who won the vault title and finished sixth in the all-around. The US team will be finalized after a selection camp later this month.
Biles eyes Paris Olympics in 2024
Biles has not ruled out competing at the Paris Olympics in 2024, where she would have a chance to add to her record of seven Olympic medals, including four golds. She said she is enjoying gymnastics more than ever and doing it for herself rather than for others’ expectations.
“Not yet,” Biles said when asked if Paris was on her personal goals list. “But I’m trying to move a little bit differently this year than I have in the past.”
Biles has already cemented her legacy as one of the greatest gymnasts of all time, but she continues to push herself and her sport to new heights. She is an inspiration to millions of fans and young gymnasts around the world, who marvel at her skills and achievements.