Simone Biles is back.
Appearing in her first gymnastics tournament since October 2019, the 2016 Olympic all-around gold medalist dominated the field at the U.S. Classic and did something no woman has done before on the vault.
The tone was set before Biles walked on the floor, via a rhinestone goat sewn into her leotard. With the fashion choice, Biles had to deliver, and it very quickly became clear she would with a stunning performance on the beam:
That routine received an event-best score of 14.850. She followed that up with an even more electric floor exercise set to a remix of the main theme from “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift.” She again topped the competition with a 14.250 score.
As USA Gymnastics noted, two of the moves performed were named after Biles.
The biggest moment came on Biles’ third event though. All of the buzz entering the tournament was about Biles preparing to attempt a Yurchenko double pike on the vault, a move that has never been performed by a woman in competition.
She landed it:
“I was just thinking, ‘Do it like training. Don’t try to overdo anything,’ because I have a tendency as soon as I raise my hand to overpower things, which I did a little bit, but at least I was still on my feet,” Biles told NBC after the tournament. “It’s a new vault. I’m proud of how today went, even though it was a little bit rough and uncharacteristic. But it was OK.”
The final event of the evening, the uneven bars, was the only one in which Biles didn’t dominate the field, due to a fall midway through a routine.
Even with a 15th place finish in the bars, Biles still took the all-around title with a total score of 58.400, with Biles’ gym-mate Jordan Chiles taking second and bars winner Kayla DiCello in third.
Bars hiccup aside, it was a triumphant return for Biles, who will attempt to become the first woman to win back-to-back Olympic all-around gold medals since Vera Caslavska in 1964 and 1968.
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