At the 2023 U.S. Gymnastics Championships, Simone Biles showed up looking like Simone Biles.
With a total score of 59.300 in the opening rotation of the competition, the four-time Olympic gold winner and 17-time world champion concluded Day 1 of the nationals in a commanding lead in the all-around competition.
Shilese Jones, who won the all-around silver medal at the 2022 world championships, is now ranked second overall with a score of 56.750, followed by 18-year-old Skye Blakely in third place with a score of 55.700.
26-year-old Biles said she was happy with her performance but hoped to get better on the balance beam in the Peacock broadcast:
“I think beam started off a little bit rough, but that’s kind of to be expected. You get your nerves out of the way, and then after that it was pretty smooth sailing. I’m pretty happy with the overall meet today. My goal for the weekend is just to hit 8-for-8, and then hopefully come in on Sunday and hopefully hit a little bit of a smoother beam routine.”
Biles’ performance included winning the floor exercise (14.800), vault (15.700), and beam (a not-too-rough 14.450), as well as taking third in the uneven bars (14.350) with a rather unremarkable performance. Day 2 will take place on Sunday at 6:30 p.m. ET at the Peacock, giving her a chance to secure more championships.
Biles successfully executed her signature skill, the Yurchenko double pike, which no other female gymnast bothers to attempt.
After winning the all-around title in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018, 2019 and 2021, Biles would tie Alfred Jochim for the most all-around national titles if she successfully defends her title on Sunday.
At the U.S. Classic earlier this month, Biles made her long-awaited comeback to competition and won the all-around competition at a meet where many of the top stars only participated in a select few events. Since the 2020 Olympics, when the “twisties” interrupted her programme and cast doubt on her future, she had not competed at the highest level.
Biles worked on herself for the next two years and continue to see a therapist once a week. While she did not formally confirm her participation in the Paris Olympics in 2024, she did tell Peacock that she will be going there provided the national and international championships go as expected:
“We’re still in the working steps. My main goal was this and then championships, and then after that we’re onto worlds, and then we’ll see. So far it’s heading in the right direction, but I still have to work on myself. I’m still going to do my therapy, I’m going to put myself first.”
So far, so good.
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