Historic night for Simone Biles at U.S. Gymnastics Championships
Simone Biles cruised to a historic fifth national title tonight at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships in Boston. Only one woman – Clara M. Schroth Lomady – has won more.
“I knew I was capable of it,” Biles said. “I kind of thought I was going to be a nervous wreck.”
Nerves were not a factor Sunday night and it was all about Biles, who came into the competition with an insurmountable 3.100 lead.
The four-time Olympic gold medallist easily won the all-around title, more than six-and-a-half points clear of the field. Her all-around total of 59.750 gave her a 119.850 combined score.
Reigning World champ Morgan Hurd finished second, scoring 113.300, followed by Riley McCusker at 112.750.
Simone Biles' record-breaking return
Biles’ win comes after sitting out of competition for nearly two years, but she has looked in near Olympic form in her first two competitions back.
She’s already broken 2018 scoring records and added more records to the history book, becoming the first woman to sweep the U.S. championships titles since Dominique Dawes in 1994.
“Being the first to sweep all the titles since Dominique Dawes is inspiring. It’s kind of cool to follow that path,” said Biles.
If Biles had a weakness, it would have been the uneven bars – though she has never finished lower than fifth place on the event as a senior at the U.S. championships and made the event final at the World Championships in 2013.
But despite being off on two elements in the second half of uneven bars routine, she powered through the routine to claim her first U.S. title on the uneven bars.
“I’m really shocked by the bars title, just because there’s a lot of strong bars swingers here, so that’s pretty exciting,” she said. “I would have never thought this would happen.”
Biles had solid though not perfect routines on the balance beam and floor exercise before finishing her historic evening with two near perfect efforts on vault.
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Hurd's stock keeps rising
A year after a surprising World championships win, Hurd continues to make a name for herself and had a solid day across all four events, highlighted by third place finishes on the uneven bars and floor exercise.
“I definitely think my execution could have been a little better basically everywhere, but I’m really happy with myself that I hit eight for eight,” Hurd said of her performance overall in Boston.
She hopes to add team gold to her all-around title and balance beam silver from last year’s Worlds this fall in Doha, Qatar.
“I think it would be the coolest thing ever,” Hurd said. “Not only would I have it for myself, but I would have with a bunch of other girls and when I would look at it, it wouldn’t just bring back memories for me but bring back memories with so many other people.”
No more nerves for McCusker
Looking to join her at the World Championships later this fall is McCusker who finished third for the second year in-a-row in the all-around in Boston.
“It definitely feels a little different. I’m really proud of how far I’ve come from last year,” McCusker said. “I’m just really happy with the result.”
After night one, McCusker admitted that the nerves got to her, but Sunday evening she appeared rock solid, bettering her all-around total by .650
“I feel like day one was just like shaking out some nerves, getting into it,” she said. “I wasn’t really as nervous [tonight] as I was day one. I was just ready to go.”
A berth at the World Championships later this year could come after missing out at the 2017 global meet due to injury.
“It would probably make me want to cry, first,” she said. “I would just be really happy and motivated and determined to do my best there.”
The U.S. women will select their team for the World Championships at a camp Oct. 10-13.
They’ll enter competition in Doha as the heavy favorites, not having lost a major team competition since the 2011 World Championships.
“We continue to grow stronger, year after year,” Biles said.