Simone Biles Wins Third Consecutive U.S. Championships Title
18-year-old African American gymnast Simone Biles is on her way to becoming the best athletes in the world!
Via USA Today:
With all the sincerity Simone Biles can muster, she explains that really and truly the competition she has is with herself. The dominant gymnast, now the three-time defending U.S. champion, is trying to best the routines from her last competition, from her last day in the gym.
It’s not out of conceit – far from it. Aimee Boorman, her lifelong coach, says Biles sometimes struggles with confidence. But rather, Biles’ biggest challenge looks back at her in the mirror.
“It’s truly I want to be the best version of me,” she said. “I just want to go out there and I just want to be Simone.”
Part of that might be by default because, quite simply, no other American is in her league right now. Biles won her third consecutive U.S. Championship at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Saturday, this time by nearly five points – a whopping margin in a sport where medals are decided by tenths of points and not whole ones.
Her win made her the first American woman to with three consecutive national titles since Kim Zmeskal in 1990-92.
After an uncharacteristically shaky performance on the first day of competition Thursday, one that included a bobble on beam and a surprising fall on floor, Biles posted a 63.000 on Saturday for the single highest competition score of her career. The two-time defending world champion called it the best performance of her life.
She posted a 124.100 two-day, event score that put her 4.95 points ahead of second-place finisher Maggie Nichols. Aly Raisman (118.550), Bailie Key (118.350) and Gabby Douglas (117.950) and finished third, fourth and fifth, respectively.
“It’s interesting – she doesn’t really see herself as being amazing,” Boorman said. “She just sees herself as a gymnast and she puts other people up on a pedestal and she’s not one of the people she puts on a pedestal.”
With a 1.4-point lead coming into the night, Biles improved her scores on three events on Saturday. That included nearly a point improvement on her beam score.
On each night, Biles nailed an Amanar, considered the toughest vault currently being done, to give her the highest scores of the competition – 16.250 on Thursday and 16.300 on Saturday.
“Maybe the last vault was better, but I was just really proud of myself how I didn’t really move again,” said Biles, a 4-foot-8 powerhouse with a relentlessly positive personality. “I was like, ‘Oh my god, I did it again.’”
Smiley N. Pool / Houston Chronicle