Simone Biles (World Champions Centre) earned a quad-record 60.100 on night two of the 2021 U.S. Gymnastics Championships to earn a two-day total of 119.650 and win a historic seventh senior women’s U.S. all-around title, beating second-place finisher Sunisa Lee by a massive 4.7 points.
Her 60.100 all-around score from Sunday night’s finals is just the second score recorded above 60 since her own all-around victory at the 2016 Olympics. She owned the first 60+ of the quad as well, previously scoring a duplicate 60.100 at the 2018 U.S. Championships.
“That was definitely the goal coming into this weekend’s events was to try to hit 60, so I’m really proud of myself for doing that,” Biles said after the meet. “I still had some mistakes and. things that we need to clean up, but all is well and I’m not mad about it.”
While nothing is certain, Biles has alluded to Tokyo potentially being her final bow before retirement, which would’ve made this her last U.S. Championships ever. On the flip side, she recently mentioned pushing for the 2024 Paris Olympics, maybe as a specialist.
Either way, it’s unlikely there will be seven more U.S. titles for Biles – even though she probably could continue for seven years and easily win them all.
Whether it’s this year, 2024, or whenever she decides, Biles won’t always be donning a leotard and cowboy hat or breaking a nail mid-vault (yep, it happened) at the annual championships. At some point, she’ll be in regular clothes, commentating or eating a bucket of popcorn and watching the next generation try (and try and try and try) to live up to her greatness.
“I feel like I did try to enjoy it because it could be one of my last championships that I’ll attend, but it’s also the road to Tokyo,” Biles said, adding the she agrees with senior men’s leader Sam Mikulak about trying to enjoy it. “After this, we have trials, so we just want to really embrace the moment… We’re getting old out here.”
The end isn’t here yet, though. There’s much more Biles wants to accomplish, and a 60.100 all-around total? That’s definitely not her peak.
“I would probably have a heart attack if the Olympics were scheduled tomorrow because that wasn’t our plan,” Biles said.
While her bars, beam, and floor seem pretty set heading into Olympic Trials – set for June 24-27 in St. Louis, Missouri – fans didn’t see the Yurchenko double pike – a.k.a. the soon-to-be Biles II – on vault at championships, which would add at least a couple tenths to her overall total.
“I didn’t do it at this competition because, on Wednesday, I kind of jammed my ankles, and they didn’t feel too good,” Biles said about one of the Yurchenko double pikes she did during podium training. “So we just made a decision to not do it, to not rush it, so I wouldn’t be too nervous. But I will be doing it at trials. I’m not sure about both days yet, but that is the plan.”
Sunisa Lee impresses selection committee with all-around performance
After being limited to bars and beam at Winter Cup and Classics, Lee competed all four events on both days of nationals, ultimately winning the all-around silver (114.950) and uneven bars gold (30.200) in Fort Worth.
High Performance Team Coordinator Tom Forster said Lee’s all-around performance was a happy surprise this week and went as far as saying she already looked like she was back in her 2019 form – the year she won three World medals, including individual silver on floor and bronze on bars.
“I feel like people kind of doubted me because I have been injured for a little bit, and I wasn’t doing my full potential on floor and vault,” Lee said about her performance this weekend.
Now, it’s back in the gym for two weeks before heading to trials.
While she’s understandably “a little bit tired,” the Midwest gymnast said she’s “feeling pretty good” and plans to increase to a four-pass routine, adding back her double layout, for St. Louis.
“I think going into trials I just have to upgrade floor and make vault better, and then I think I just need to work on my consistency a little bit on bars because, obviously, it’s going to be hard to do that routine that many times in a row,” Lee said. “I don’t think I need to do much more because competing here, not at my full potential, and still [ending] up in the top two was definitely a confidence booster.”
Jordan Chiles looks Olympics ready heading into trials
While speaking with the media after the meet, Biles also took the liberty of naming World Champions teammate and third-place finisher Jordan Chiles to the team herself, saying, “It’s nice to be a mentor for the younger girls, especially Jordan, for her first time going to the Olympics.”
And no, that wasn’t a fluke statement.
When asked how confident she is that Chiles will be joining her in Tokyo, Biles said, “I’m very confident. I see her every day in training. She did exactly what she was supposed to out here tonight and at Classics and at Winter Cup so I have a very good feeling if we keep this going, we have a good shot at making the Olympic team together.”
Between Winter Cup, Classics, and U.S. Championships, Chiles has hit 16/16 routines and out of the four individual meets, she’s only dropped below a 57 four-event total once – when she had a major balance beck on beam on night one of championships and finished with a 56.900.
Her 114.450 two-day total was good for the bronze in the all-around this weekend. In addition, she performed two vaults on both days of championships – what she calls a “sneak peek” of what’s to come – to finish with the bronze (29.250) on that event as well.
As Chiles stood on the all-around podium, her chest and shoulders rose as she took an especially deep breath, simultaneously looking out at her mom and dad and thinking about how far she’s come since moving to World Champions.
“When I saw them, it just made me feel so, so grateful that I wasn’t a disappointment,” Chiles said, emotion lacing her words. “That’s one thing that I struggled with – disappointing people – and I’m just really, really happy that I was able to prove to them and also to myself that I am capable of doing a million more things throughout my life, not even in gymnastics, but also throughout my life. I truly believe that yes, I accomplished something really, really big today.”
18 athletes named to national team and qualify to Olympic Trials
The top six all-around finishers earned automatic spots on the senior women’s national team on Sunday night.
Joining Biles, Lee, and Chiles on the team and at Olympic Trials are fourth-place finisher Emma Malabuyo (110.450) of Texas Dreams, fifth-place finisher Leanne Wong (110.150) of GAGE, and sixth-place finisher Jade Carey (110.000) of Arizona Sunrays.
Skye Blakely (WOGA), Grace McCallum (Twin City Twisters), MyKayla Skinner (Desert Lights), Kara Eaker (GAGE), Kayla DiCello (Hill’s), Shilese Jones (Future), Emily Lee (West Valley), Amari Drayton (World Champions), Ava Siegfeldt (World Class), Addison Fatta (Prestige), Zoe Miller (World Champions), and Riley McCusker (Arizona Sunrays) rounded out the 18-woman team.
Carey, who has already qualified as an individual to the Tokyo Games, is expected to compete at trials, and while Forster confirmed she would have the choice of whether to be on the team or take the individual spot if she finishes in one of the top two automatic qualifying spots, he also said he expects her to be competing as an individual in Tokyo.
McCusker, Carey’s Arizona Sunrays teammate, was limited to just bars this week after sustaining an ankle injury at Classics, but she made the most of it, finishing with the silver (29.750) on the event after earning a massive 15.100 (6.4/8.7) during finals.
Forster was disappointed McCusker wasn’t able to compete in the all-around this weekend, but he was impressed by her “Olympic caliber” routines on bars.
Notably missing from the national team and Olympic Trials roster are Chellsie Memmel, Morgan Hurd, and Laurie Hernandez.
Memmel – who just made her competitive return at Classics after almost a decade away from the sport – may or may not petition to trials.
The mom of two was almost as popular with the crowd at Dickies Arena as Biles and showed exceptional improvement on both vault and beam this weekend, despite not placing on either event. She also added bars at this meet, falling on her clear hip 1/2 on Friday and scratching from the event after falling twice on Sunday. Seeing as she told media she has yet to hit a full bars set at all during her comeback, Memmel was very happy with her performance this weekend, all things considered.
Hurd elected to compete only beam and floor after undergoing two surgeries on her right elbow in March. The 2017 World all-around champion fell twice on beam both nights – a total of four times – and earned a 12.600 for her floor both days.
After the meet, Hurd’s friend and Australian gymnast Heath Thorpe tweeted saying her petition to compete at Olympic Trials had been denied. USA Gymnastics has yet to confirm or deny her or any other gymnast’s petitions for trials. The tweet has since been deleted.
Hernandez scratched from the meet altogether after competing only beam on day one and withdrawing soon after due to an injury (hyperextended knee) sustained during warmups. She is expected to petition to trials.
All of the senior women’s routines can be watched on USA Gymnastics’ YouTube Channel.