Biles leads after night 1 of U.S. Gymnastics Championships (2024)

FORT WORTH, Texas — Simone Biles took approximately six seconds to build an insurmountable lead over the rest of the field at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships on Friday, as she began her quest for a ninth national all-around title. That’s the power of the Yurchenko double pike vault, also known as the Biles II. It earned Biles a massive 15.800, giving her a 1.3-point cushion over second place after the first rotation.

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The four-time Olympic gold medalist displayed her usual dominance throughout the other three events. She capped night one of the two-day event with a 15.200 on floor exercise where she was rewarded for her challenging tumbling runs. She nailed both eponymous skills — the triple-twisting double back tuck and the double back layout with a half twist — and kept both in bounds, avoiding the one major deduction she habitually incurs.

SIMONE BILES ‼️

She leads the women's all-around competition after night one with a score of 60.450.#XfinityChamps pic.twitter.com/oTjvQX6PHh

— NBC Olympics & Paralympics (@NBCOlympics) June 1, 2024

Biles finished night one of the competition with a 60.450, her highest all-around total since the 2021 Olympic Trials. Skye Blakely, the only gymnast besides Biles to record a 15.000 score, sits second in the all-around with a 57.050. An upgraded vault propelled Blakely, who is firmly in the mix for a Paris spot, past a deep field that included 2020 Olympic all-around champion Suni Lee, floor gold medalist Jade Carey and team silver medalist Jordan Chiles.

Returning from a kidney condition that hampered her training for much of last year, Lee climbed to fourth in the all-around with a strong bar routine that her coach Jess Graba said features only half of the difficulty she is capable of and hopes to show the full version at Olympic Trials in June. Lee’s version of a watered-down routine still scored 14.200, good enough for fifth.

Chiles and Carey finished Friday night in seventh and eighth, respectively.

The national all-around title and individual event titles will be awarded Sunday night.

Shilese Jones, widely considered a shoo-in for the Paris 2024 Games as a top all-around contender alongside Biles, withdrew from the U.S. championships a few hours before the women’s meet began Friday due to a right shoulder injury. She’s been managing a torn labrum since 2022 but said Wednesday that it flared up after the Core Hydration Classic two weeks ago. She ultimately decided “to prioritize recovery and resting my shoulder this weekend” intending to file a petition to compete at Olympic Trials next month, per a statement.

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Three-time Olympic champion Gabby Douglas also pulled out of the competition due to an ankle injury she sustained while training for the event, according to ESPN. Though she doesn’t have a path to the upcoming trials for the 2024 team, Douglas says she plans to continue training to represent the U.S. at the Los Angeles 2028 Games.

On the men’s side, two-time national champion Brody Malone leads the field after scoring an 85.950 during the first night of competition Thursday. Malone underwent three surgeries on his right leg last year to correct a tibial plateau fracture, a partially torn PCL and a fully torn LCL he suffered during a dismount off the high bar in March 2023. He’ll be back in action Saturday at 7 p.m. CT for the final day of the men’s event while the women resume competition Sunday at 5:45 p.m.

How will Jones’ withdrawal affect her Olympic chances?

It won’t. Jones has already established herself as a reliable competitor who is excellent across all four events and particularly extraordinary on bars, which has historically been a weaker event for Team USA.

Though Jones struggled with consistency earlier in her career, she was the breakout star of the 2022 World Championships (where she helped the U.S. to team gold while also picking up a pair of individual silvers in the all-around and on bars). She recreated those results in 2023 with another team gold and two bronzes (all-around, bars). At the U.S. Classic, she finished second behind Biles in the all-around and posted a massive 15.250 on bars to take that event title while showing off a new release move that makes her even more of a threat to make the bars podium in Paris.

Required reading

  • Simone Biles starts her Paris Olympics build-up and looks ready for the moment

(Photo: Elsa / Getty Images)

Tess DeMeyer is a Staff Editor for The Athletic working on the live/breaking news team. Prior to joining The Athletic, she worked as an associate digital producer at Sports Illustrated. Tess attended Brown University and originates from a small town outside of Savannah, GA. Follow Tess on Twitter @tess_demeyer

Biles leads after night 1 of U.S. Gymnastics Championships (2024)
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