Simone Biles began her quest to win a record eighth United States title with a bang Friday night. Biles ended the first day of the U.S. Gymnastics Championships with a lead of nearly three points. As CNN reported, with a win in the championships, Biles would become the first gymnast to win eight U.S. all around titles.
On the balance beam, Biles stumbled a bit before regaining her form, and received a score of 14.50. Through the second rotation, Biles was tied with world all-around silver medalist Shilese Jones with a score of 29.25. But Biles pulled away courtesy of her signature event, the vault. Biles performed what has become her specialty, a difficult Yurchenko double pike followed by a Cheng, which is a round-off back handspring half onto the table with one and a half twists off.
To follow that up, Biles turned in a stellar performance on the uneven bars.
“Beams 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,” Biles said. “Pretty happy with the overall meet today.”
Biles said winning an eighth title is a personal goal. If Biles wins the event, which concludes on Aug. 27, then history is hers. She is tied with Alfred Jochim, who won his seventh title 90 years ago in 1933.
Earlier this year, Biles returned to action after a two-year hiatus, handily winning the U.S. Core Hydration Classic. Right now, Biles sits in first place followed by Jones and Skye Blakely rounding out the podium.
Suni Lee, the Olympics gold medalist in 2021, has only competed in two events as she makes her way back from a kidney problem. This marks the first time that two Olympic all-around gold medalists have ever competed for a United States championship.