Simone Biles Just Made Gymnastics History Yet Again - and She's So Casual About It
On Sunday, Biles became the first woman ever to win seven U.S. championship titles.
In 2019, a 22-year-old Simone Biles broke records by becoming the most decorated gymnast in world championship history. And at 24, she has added another incredibly impressive achievement to her already stacked resume, becoming the only woman ever to take home seven U.S. titles.
On Sunday, Biles scored 119.65 points during the U.S. Gymnastics Championships in Fort Worth, Texas, edging out runner-up Sunisa Lee by 4.7 points to secure lucky number seven. The four-time Olympic champion began the four-day competition with a 15.800 score on vault during the first rotation on Friday. Then, on Sunday, she totaled 60.100 points in the all-around, scoring at least 14.700 in every event. In addition to her record-breaking seventh title, Biles also took top honors in the vault, balance beam, and floor exercises. (Related: Simone Biles Hasn't Done This Gymnastics Move In a Decade - But She Still Nailed It)
Though the competition started out a bit rocky for Biles - she stepped out of bounds three times during the floor exercise on Friday, chalking it up to "adrenaline" - the four-time Olympic champion dazzled the audience in the end. How exactly? By nailing two gravity-defying vault exercises know as the Cheng and the Amanar - both of which Biles has made part of her signature floor routine. And while she didn't perform the jaw-dropping Yurchenko double pike vault that she wowed crowds with last month, Biles straight-up slayed two eponymous exercises: the Biles I, a double-twisting double backflip with a double-double dismount from the balance beam, and the Biles II, a triple-double, aka a double backflip with three twists on the floor. (Remember when she did a triple-double beam dismount, a never-before-seen gymnastics move?)
This weekend's victory helped Biles break her tie of six titles with the late Clara Schroth Lomady, who won hers between 1945 and 1952 when the Amateur Athletic Union (vs. today's USA Gymnastics) was the national governing body for gymnastics. Now with seven titles under her belt, Biles is tied with the late Alfred Jochim (1925-1930; 1933), with the two holding the most titles for any gymnast in U.S. history. Biles, however, is the only woman athlete to have so many of 'em under her belt.
Even more impressive? The Texas native has taken home a title from every senior nationals she has ever entered since 2013, dominating every all-around competition she's entered since the 2013 U.S. Championships. All this comes just three weeks before the start of the Olympic Trials on June 24 and 27 in St. Louis, reports CNN. Biles is expected to pack her bags for Tokyo, as long as the Olympics are not further postponed or canceled amid a recent surge in COVID-19 cases in Japan. (Related: Exciting New Sports You'll See at the Tokyo Olympics)
True to form, Biles remained amazingly cool and humble about it all. "I feel like I did try to enjoy it because it could be one of my last championships that I'll attend," she said after this weekend's competition. "But it's also the road to Tokyo, and after this we have trials, so we just have to really embrace the moment. I feel like every single championship stands out for a different reason, but this one stands out specifically because it's the road to Tokyo. We came out here, and we did what we were supposed to."
Now, Biles is surely gearing up to bring her A-game to Tokyo, where she'll need four medals to pass Russian competitor Vitaly Scherbo as the most decorated gymnast at both the Olympic Games and worlds. If she scores five medals (which she already did at the last World Championships in 2019 - NBD!), she'd be tied with former Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina's nine Olympic gymnastics gold medal record...all well before her 25th birthday. Casual.