Simone Biles flies to sixth U.S. title in Kansas City
Four-time Olympic champ becomes first woman to land triple-double and claims record-equalling national gymnastics crown
The four-time Olympic gold medallist earned her second-straight, and record-equalling sixth overall U.S. Gymnastics Championships all-around title on Sunday (11th August 2019) at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri.
Over the two days of competition, Biles posted a 118.500 total ahead of Sunisa Lee (118.500) and Grace McCallum (111.850).
"I feel like each one gets better and better," said Biles, "because it’s like the fifth and, then, the sixth, so it just keeps getting more exciting."
That's putting it mildly, as Biles continues to find a way to soar higher and add more flips and twists to her routines nearly each time out.
Biles came into Sunday’s competition determined.
Though she, of course, topped the standings after the first night of competition, the 14-time World champion was far from satisfied with her performance.
“I’m still really upset about floor,” Biles had said after competition Friday.
Floor was where Biles opened competition on Sunday, making history just moments later as she became the first woman to ever attempt a triple-twisting, double back on the event.
Speaking immediately after the performance, Biles said her execution of the move "Wasn't as good as in some of the trainings,"
The American star added "I am just happy that I landed it, because I feel like after night one [on Friday] my confidence got shot down."
Biles had ended her balance beam routine on Friday with yet another never-before-seen element, a double-twisting, double back dismount.
Tonight, she “only” performed a full-twisting double back off the balance beam, still the most difficult dismount in the competition.
The 22-year-old added afterwards that being noticed by other elite athletes on social media gives her a boost too, saying "I feel like my heart stops because I'm like 'wow, they actually notice me'."
More history to come
Like Sam Mikulak’s win Saturday night, Biles’ sixth all-around title is a history-making accomplishment.
Only one woman, Clara M. Schroth Lomady, has ever won six U.S. national crowns previously. Her last title coming in 1952.
Mikulak and Biles will have a chance to tie Alfred Jochim’s record seven titles next season. Jochim won six straight from 1925-30 and then in 1933.
“I never think about the records,” Biles said earlier in the week.
Though Biles may be alone in that as she heads to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics with a chance to break or extend existing records almost every time she steps out on the floor.
“I honestly don’t know that I’m breaking a record until someone brings it up to me,” she admitted.
But perhaps even more impressive Sunday’s win is Biles’ 20th straight victory in the all-around.
The first of that streak came at the 2013 U.S. Championships in Hartford, Connecticut.
She’s dominated the sport since then, setting records at every turn, including being the only woman ever to win four World all-around titles.
Her 20 World medals is tied for most by a woman with Russia’s Svetlana Khorkina (though Biles has 14 gold medals to Khorkina’s nine).
Three more medals at this season’s World Championships in Stuttgart will match Vitaly Scherbo’s record for most ever.
Lee leads the rest of the pack
Earlier this year, Lee recorded 56.466 at the Jesolo Trophy competition in Italy. According to thegymter.net, that's the 13th best score in the world this season.
This week in Kansas City, Lee delivered a consistent performance across both days of competition. Her highlight came Sunday when she earned a 15.050 on the uneven bars to take the individual apparatus title. Biles was the individual event champion on vault, balance beam and floor exercise.
McCallum shook off a disappointing day one, improving her score from Friday by more than 2.000, while 2017 World all-around champion Morgan Hurd finished fourth. Hurd, who ended just .150 back of McCallum, suffered an uncharacteristic fall on the floor exercise Friday, where she is the reigning World silver medalist, that held her all-around total back.
2019 Pan Am Games all-around silver medalist Riley McCusker scratched from competition tonight after feeling "physically ill," according to USA Gymnastics. McCusker was runner-up to Biles at the U.S. Classic in July.
All Around on Olympic Channel
Don't forget Olympic Channel has an exclusive original series, All Around, giving you a behind-the-scenes look at three of the world's top stars - Morgan Hurd, Russia’s Angelina Melnikova and China’s Chen Yile, Find out more here, and watch episode one now.