Simone Biles wins record eighth title at US gymnastics championships
SAN JOSE, Calif. - Add another entry in the record books for Simone Biles.
She won her eighth U.S. gymnastics title Sunday night, breaking a tie with Alfred Jochim for most by a U.S. gymnast. And no offense to Jochim, who competed back in the 1920s and ‘30s, when rope climbing and Indian clubs were still parts of the sport, but what Biles is doing is even more impressive.
She won four in a row from 2013-16. After taking a break for more than a year following the Rio Olympics, Biles returned to win again in 2018 and 2019. After the world shut down because of the COVID pandemic in 2020, she won in 2021.
Biles again took a break after the Tokyo Olympics, where she was forced to withdraw from the team final and four event finals when rising anxiety manifested itself in a case of “the twisties,” causing her to lose her sense of where she is in the air. Biles returned for the balance beam final and won a bronze medal.
Now she’s back, and looking possibly better than ever in getting win No. 8.
She did the Yurchenko double pike on the first night of competition, and stuck the landing of her Biles I pass on floor exercise. She made an incredibly difficult beam routine look effortless, wracking up bonus points with one series of elements after another, as if to say, “Oh, you liked that? How about this one?”
She finished with two scores of 15 or higher – Shilese Jones was the only other gymnast to get a 15 – and an overall total of 118.450 points. That was almost four points ahead of Jones, who was the silver medalist in the all-around at last year’s world championships.
Tokyo alternate Leanne Wong was third, three-plus points behind Jones.
Simone Biles didn’t really get serious about training until this spring. Yet, just two meets in, she’s as good as she’s ever been. Asked how that feels, Biles said she’s happy with how things are progressing because there were times she wasn’t sure if she’d be back competing.
Anything else she’s feeling?
“Hungry,” she said emphatically. “I’m so starving right now.”
"I've been doing it for so long, I feel like I don't think about numbers. I think about my performance," Simone Biles said on NBC when asked about her record-breaking title. "I think overall, I hit 8 for 8 (clean events). So eight, I guess it's a lucky number this year."
After her first day of competition Friday, Biles was asked on NBC what drives her at this point in her career, and she said she still has personal goals she wants to achieve. On Sunday, she was asked to specify those goals.
"I like to keep them personal, just so that I know what I'm aiming for. I think it's better that way," Biles told the network. "I'm trying to move a little bit differently this year than I have in the past. I think it's working so far, so I'm going to keep it a little bit secretive."
But could she say if competing at the 2024 Paris Olympics is one of them?
"Not yet," Biles added.
What a way to cap her record-setting eighth U.S. title.
Simone Biles brought the house down at the SAP Center with a magnificent floor routine. She stuck her Biles I tumbling pass – double layout with a half twist – like she was landing in fly paper, not needing to move in the slightest to control her landing.
She was beaming when she finished, and the crowd gave her a standing ovation. Jordan Chiles, her longtime training mate, was waiting to follow Biles on floor, and waved her hands at the crowd, asking them to cheer louder.
Biles scored a 15.4 – more than a half-point better than what she got Friday night.
She finished with 118.45. Though the meet isn’t over, this will be Biles’ eighth national title, breaking a tie with Alfred Jochim for most of any U.S. gymnast.
With only one event to go, Simone Biles has cracked the 100-point mark.
Biles has 103.050 points so far, with only floor exercise to come. That’s one of her signature events, so expect her final score to be in the mid- to upper teens when she’s done.
Shilese Jones, the silver all-around medalist at last year’s world championships, is second, 3.5 points behind Biles. Tokyo alternate Leanne Wong is third.
Simone Biles did what she wanted.
A three-time world champion on balance beam, Biles made a couple of errors on the event on the first night of competition at the U.S. championships. Small errors, but she wasn’t happy about them and said she hoped for better on the second night of competition.
Biles scored a 14.85, 0.40 points better than she did Friday and far and away better than anyone else here will manage.
Biles’ beam routine is incredibly difficult, loaded with elements that give her bonuses. Yet she makes it look easy, moving across the apparatus – which is 3 inches wide and 3 feet off the ground, mind you -- with more confidence than most of us walk on flat ground.
The other members of the Tokyo Olympic team aren’t faring as well as Simone Biles.
Jordan Chiles fell off uneven bars. Jade Carey came off balance beam and also went out of bounds on floor exercise, where she’s the Olympic champion.
Both will still have a chance to make the world team, however. The U.S. women are selecting their team after a training camp next month.
Simone Biles is comfortably in control at the midway point of Day 2 at the U.S. gymnastics championships.
The four-time Olympic champion is more than three points ahead of Shilese Jones, last year’s all-around silver medalist at the world championships. Just how big a gap is that? Think of those early-season college football or basketball games and you get the idea.
Biles didn’t do the Yurchenko double pike vault, opting for a Cheng instead. Her right ankle was taped, so it’s possible she was trying to protect it. She also scored lower on her uneven bars the first night after taking a hop on her dismount.
Who is Alfred Jochim, who currently shares the record for most U.S. gymnastics titles (seven) with Simone Biles? He competed in the 1920s and 1930s, and is so far the only U.S. gymnast to compete at four Olympics. He won his first six titles from 1925 to 1930, and then his last one in 1933.
He was inducted into USA Gymnastics’ Hall of Fame in 1959, its inaugural class.
Simone Biles opted not to do the Yurchenko double pike on Day 2 of the U.S. gymnastics championships.
It wasn’t a big surprise, given she had her right ankle taped for vault and didn’t do it during warm-ups. And it didn’t really matter. Biles instead did the Cheng, the second-hardest vault any woman is doing these days, and scored a 14.85.
That’s 0.85 below what Biles scored the other night for the Yurchenko double pike, but it’s higher than what anyone scored on vault on Day 1.
The 2008 Olympic team was honored before the start of the women’s competition Sunday.
The Americans combined for 10 medals in Beijing. The U.S. women – Nastia Liukin, Shawn Johnson, Alicia Sacramone, Chellsie Memmel, Sam Peszek and Bridget Sloan – took silver in the team competition, and Liukin and Johnson went 1-2 in the all-around.
Liukin also won silvers on uneven bars and balance beam and a bronze on floor. Johnson won gold on balance beam and a silver on floor exercise.
The U.S. men – Jonathan Horton, Sasha Artemev, Raj Bhavsar, Kevin Tan, Justin Spring and Joey Hagerty – won the bronze medal, the last time they've won a medal in the team competition at the Olympics. Horton also won a silver on high bar.
USA Gymnastics announced the men’s team for next year’s world championships and, no surprise, it will be led by new U.S. champion Asher Hong. Joining Hong will be U.S. silver medalist Khoi Young; U.S. bronze medalist Fred Richard; Tokyo Olympian Yul Moldauer; and Paul Juda, last year’s NCAA all-around champion.
The world championships are Sept. 30 to Oct. 8 in Antwerp, Belgium. The U.S. women’s team will be named after a selection camp next month.
In the junior women’s event, Hezly Rivera won her first all-around title while also claiming the top spot on uneven bars and balance beam. Kieryn Finnell was second and Izzy Stassi was third.
The women's senior competition concludes Sunday night, starting at 6:30 p.m. ET.
The U.S. gymnastics championships will begin airing on television on NBC and CNBC at 7 p.m. ET, though not all events will be broadcast live. See the broadcast schedule at NBCSports.com.
The U.S. gymnastics championships will be live streamed on NBCSports.com, the NBC Sports app and Peacock.
Jade Carey, Jordan Chiles, Suni Lee are all competing in San Jose and each joined Biles at the Tokyo Olympics.
The Yurchenko double pike vault Simone Biles did Friday night was close to perfect. Her coach knew it. Fans knew it. The judges knew it, awarding Biles a 9.8, out of 10, for execution.
Yet, when her score posted, it included this: "ND: -0.500." A deduction? For what?
As it turns out, it wasn’t anything Biles did, exactly. More like what she had. Which was coach Laurent Landi standing on the podium, ready to assist her if something went awry during the vault so difficult Biles is the only woman to ever do it in competition and few men even try.
Simone Biles shouldn’t be punished for giving international gymnastics officials exactly what they wanted.
The four-time Olympic champion continues to push the boundaries of the sport and it appears the International Gymnastics Federation is going to continue to push back, refusing to give the skills she does their rightful value.