Simone Biles won a record eighth all-around title at the US Gymnastics Championships in San Jose, California on Sunday (Aug 27), looking as dominant as ever despite only recently returning to competition after a two-year break.
The sold-out crowd leapt to their feet after Biles finished the two-day event with a magnificent floor routine to put the gymnastics world on notice with one year to go until the Paris Olympics.
The 26-year-old is making her comeback after pulling out of multiple events at the Tokyo Games due to “the twisties”, a temporary loss of spatial awareness in mid-air.
Biles won her seventh title in 2021 to tie Alfred Jochim, who won the last of his seven in 1933.
“I’ve been doing it for so long that I don’t think about numbers, I think about my performance and overall I hit eight for eight,” Biles said in an interview with the Peacock network.
“Eight is the lucky number this year.”
Biles entered the second day of the championships with a commanding 2.55 point lead and increased it further when she scored a 14.850 from the vault.
A solid performance on the uneven bars garnered a 14.050 and her balance beam routine, which was sharper than on the opening day of the competition, earned her a 14.850.
She finished with her strongest event, the floor exercise, scoring a 15.400 to electrify the crowd at SAP Center.
“It’s really amazing,” Biles said of the crowd’s reaction.
“Everybody in here believes in me, my teammates believe in me, my coaches, my family, everyone.
“I just need to start believing in myself a little bit more, but it feels amazing. I love the fans, I love the crowd. It was really special.”
She finished the two-day competition with a total score of 118.450, 3.900 points ahead of Shilese Jones in second and 7.350 points clear of Leanne Wong, who was third.
With the win, Biles also became the oldest US women’s all-around champion. She won her first title a decade ago in 2013.
The four-time Olympic gold medalist returned to gymnastics after her break following the Tokyo Games with a win at the Core Hydration US Classic in suburban Chicago earlier this month.
On the first night of the competition in San Jose Biles executed a Yurchenko double pike, a vault so difficult that it has never been performed by another female gymnast.
With the Paris Games a year away, Biles said she has set goals for herself but did not want to reveal what they were.
“I like to keep them personal just so that I know what I’m aiming for,” she said.
“It’s better that way. I’m trying to move a little bit differently this year than I have in the past and it’s working so far.”