Simone Biles Wins 8th National Title, Becomes Most Decorated Gymnast In History
Simone Biles last competed in gymnastics at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021. After stepping away from the sport to prioritize her mental health and start a new chapter in her personal life, the 26-year-old sports icon returned to the mat in a major way.
On Sunday, Aug. 27, Biles made history, winning her eighth all-around title at the US Gymnastics Championships in San Jose, California. With the victory, she surpassed every gymnast, male or female, as the winningest athlete in the sport and became the oldest woman ever to take home gold at the competition. “I think it feels really special,” Biles said. “I’ve been doing it for so long, I feel like I don’t think about numbers, I think about my performance. And I think, overall, I hit eight for eight (routines). … I guess it’s a lucky number this year.”
According to CNN, the four-time Olympic gold medalist boldly claimed her all-around victory with a 15.400 score for her floor routine.
Though she seemed poised to face off at the 2024 Olympics, Biles avoided confirming her participation; however, her win at the US championships secured her a spot in the world championships competition, scheduled to begin on Sept. 30 in Antwerp, Belgium.
“I like to keep (my goals) personal just so that I know what I am aiming for,” Biles said. “I’m trying to move a little bit differently this year than I have in the past. So I think it’s working so far, so I’m gonna keep it a little bit secretive.”
Winning her 32nd medal and adding to her indelible legacy, Biles remarked on the love and support she’s received since leaving competition as a result of “twisties”—a mental block that causes a gymnast to lose track of their positions in midair—amid thunderous applause throughout her evening of record-breaking performances. “It’s really amazing. Everybody in here believes in me,” she said. “So I just need to start believing in myself a little bit more, but it feels amazing and I love the fans, I love the crowd. It was really special.”