KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Simone Biles messed around and got a triple-double. And just about everything else too on her way to a sixth women’s title at the United States Gymnastics Championships.
The Olympic champion began her preparation for the 2020 Games by drilling her boundary pushing triple-twisting, double-flip — also known as the triple-double — at the end of her first tumbling run on floor exercise Sunday night, the exclamation point of another dazzling performance that showcased just how wide the gulf between Biles and the rest of the world has become.
Biles had a two-day all-around total of 118.500, nearly five points clear of Sunisa Lee in second and almost eight points ahead of Grace McCallum in third. Biles, 22, took the top scores on floor, vault and balance beam and placed third on bars, bouncing back from a sloppy set Friday that left the world’s top gymnast, and admitted perfectionist, seething.
There were no muttered curse words this time. Only a borderline sarcastic jump for joy after she finished off a typically brilliant night by drilling her dismount on uneven bars to extend an unbeaten streak that began at the 2013 national championships. Biles gave her coach, Laurent Landi, a relieved high-five before sticking out her tongue and waving her arms as she ran to hug the rest of competitors in her rotation.
Two days removed from an off day — at least by her impossibly high standards — Biles responded with four sublime rotations that showcased the mix of technical precision, audacious ambition and charismatic showmanship that have become her trademark.
The opening night began with Biles shorting her attempt at the triple-double, a miscue that Landi admitted “bled” from one routine to the next. For any other gymnast, it would have been the meet of their lives. For Biles, it wasn’t nearly good enough.