US gymnastics championships highlights: Simone Biles cruising toward another national title (2024)

FORT WORTH, Texas – Once again, for the umpteenth time, it's Simone Biles at the top and everyone else fighting for second.

Biles appears set to cruise to what would be her ninth all-around national title after putting on a clinic on the first night of the U.S. gymnastics championships in Fort Worth, Texas, on Friday.

Not only is Biles sitting a full three points ahead of the rest of the field entering the second half of competition Sunday, but she recorded the highest single score on each of the four apparatuses – a rare feat at an event of this caliber, even for a gymnast as dominant as Biles, the reigning world all-around champion and 2016 Olympic gold medalist.

"Simone, she's like an artist. She's like a musician. People want to show up to see greatness, and she embodies it in every way," NBC analyst John Roethlisberger said after her 15.200 on floor exercise.

The non-Biles division is where it gets interesting, however – especially given the absence of Shilese Jones, who withdrew earlier Friday to rest a shoulder injury.

Skye Blakely, 19, is sitting in second place through the first day of competition with a score of 57.050 – thanks in part to a massive vault, which notched a score of 15.000.

"My goal I wrote down was actually 56 in the all-around so 57 really tops it and I'm excited about that," Blakely said. "That's my first 15 ever."

But there is a pack of veterans right behind Blakely, including Kayla DiCello (56.850), Suni Lee (55.750) and Leanne Wong (55.550).

Here is a recap of everything else you might have missed Friday:

How did Simone Biles do?

Biles, 27, recorded her best all-around score of this Olympic cycle to date: 60.450.It’s the first time Biles has scored above 60 since 2021.

"That was a goal of hers. Very happy with her routines, attitudes — everything was really good," said Cecile Landi, who coaches Biles along with husband Laurent.

"Nothing is normal. But with the amount of work that she does, it's expected, with the talent that she has," Landi said. "I feel really lucky to be around her, that's for sure."

How did Suni Lee do?

In her first all-around competition in more than a year, Lee recorded a score of 55.750 on Friday night, which was good for fourth. More importantly, she appeared strong on her two best events – uneven bars and balance beam – and scored well even with routines that are not as difficult as ones she's done previously.

If Lee can replicate this performance Sunday, it could significantly boost her odds of punching a ticket to Paris.

What's next?

The women's competition will continue Sunday night and be televised live on NBC. The top two all-around finishers (Biles and someone else) will automatically qualify for the U.S. Olympic trials in Minneapolis roughly one month from now.

For most of the top gymnasts in the mix, however, this weekend isn't really about a trials invite. It's about continuing to show their strengths and prove their consistency to the selection committee that will ultimately pick the four women who will join Biles in Paris.

Don't take Simone Biles' greatness for granted

FORT WORTH, Texas — Most athletes are at their peak for a couple of years. If they’re lucky, they can stretch it to four or five. Only the singular talents — LeBron, Serena, Tiger, Brady — can sustain a level of excellence over their entire careers.

Simone Biles is deservedly in their company.

At 27 years old, and at her ninth U.S. championships, she looks as good as she did in, well, pick a year. Any year. Actually, she’s even better, because she continues to push herself and the boundaries of her sport with skills so difficult other women don’t even bother trying them.

Read Nancy Armour's full column here.

Simone Biles puts up another big score on floor

FORT WORTH, Texas – The more Simone Biles does a routine, the better it gets.

Two weeks after nearly landing off the podium on her Biles II – a triple-twisting double somersault that's the opening pass in her floor routine – Biles had it under control Friday. She had only the smallest hops on some of her other passes, and had coach Laurent Landi clapping in satisfaction. Her score of 15.2 was her second above 15 of the night – to give you an idea of how impressive that is, the only other gymnast to get above a 15 was Skye Blakely, on vault – and gave her a total of 60.45. — Nancy Armour

Suni Lee closes strong on uneven bars

FORT WORTH, Texas – Suni Lee capped the night with uneven bars, the event in which she won Olympic bronze in Tokyo. And it didn't disappoint.

In what NBC analyst John Roethlisbergercalled "the single most important routine" of the night in terms of piecing together the Olympic team, Lee recorded a score of 14.300 – including an execution mark of 8.500. And that's without being close to her full difficulty.

Skye Blakely also ended the night on a high note, with a 15.000 on vault. She was the only athlete besides Biles to eclipse the 15-point mark on an apparatus tonight. — Tom Schad

Simone Biles dazzles on beam

FORT WORTH, Texas — It’s a disservice to Simone Biles that, because she’s as good as she is, and has been for so long, what she does gets taken for granted.

Like her beam routine Friday night. She flipped and twisted on the 4-inch-wide beam more easily than most people walk on flat ground, one skill flowing seamlessly into the next. Other gymnasts could spend years training just that event and they still wouldn’t make it look as easy as she does.

And this wasn’t easy, by the way. Her 6.4 difficulty score was, by far, the highest in the field and her 14.8 was better than most gymnasts got on vault, where scores are highest.

The score boosted Biles’ total to 45.250 through three events. She finishes the night on floor exercise, putting 60 within reach.

In the non-Simone division, Skye Blakely is second and Olympic champion Suni Lee has moved up to third.— Nancy Armour

Why Suni Lee should be 'very pleased' with vault performance

FORT WORTH, Texas – Suni Lee looked relieved after landing her vault, small hop and all. In a step up from her vault at the U.S. Classic two weeks ago, Lee went with a Yurchenko double full Friday night and received a score of 14.000 – keeping her firmly in the all-around mix, non-Biles division.

"I think Suni Lee is going to be very pleased to see that number," NBC analyst Sam Peszek said on the Peaco*ck broadcast.

The absence of Shilese Jones has led to a crowded pack near the top of the leaderboard through three rotations, with Skye Blakely, Jade Carey, Jordan Chiles and Kayla DiCello all separated by less than a point, with Lee not far behind. — Tom Schad

Kaliya Lincoln scratched from vault and floor

FORT WORTH, Texas – Kaliya Lincoln's night is over. According to USA Gymnastics' live scoring system, Lincoln scratched from vault and floor exercise – the latter of which has traditionally been her strongest event.

Lincoln, 18, recorded a 12.700 on uneven bars and 12.300 on balance beam – thanks in part to a fall.

Trinity Thomas, who starred collegiately at Florida, has also scratched, according to USA Gymnastics. — Tom Schad

Simone Biles out in front at halfway point: Day 1 scoring update

FORT WORTH, Texas – At the halfway point, Simone Biles is in the lead and there’s starting to be some separation in the “non-Simone” division.

Skye Blakely is second, 1.6 points behind Biles with 28.85 points. Tokyo Olympian Jordan Chiles is third, 0.2 points back and Kayla DiCello is at 28.60 points.

This is only the first day of competition, however. Day 2 is Sunday. — Nancy Armour

Jade Carey has strong showing on floor and vault

FORT WORTH, Texas – Jade Carey knows that her best chance of making the team for Paris will be with strong scores on floor and vault. So far, so good.

After a solid showing with a floor exercise that has potential to score even higher, Carey hit a Cheng vault that, despite a small hop backwards on the landing, netted a score of 14.500 – the best of the night so far outside of Simone Biles' famed Yurchenko double pike.

Jordan Chiles, another veteran of the 2021 Olympic team, also impressed in her second rotation with a 14.500 on uneven bars, while Suni Lee competed on floor for just the second time in a year. She earned a score of 13.250, the third-best of the evening at the halfway point. — Tom Schad

Simone Biles puts up great score in her 'worst' event

FORT WORTH, Texas – Even Simone Biles was happy with that one.

Biles crushed her set on uneven bars, her “worst” and least-favorite event. When she trotted off the podium, she pumped both her fists. She scored a 14.65, which is likely to be the highest score of the night event with Shilese Jones out of the competition.— Nancy Armour

Simone Biles takes early lead

FORT WORTH, Texas – We’re only one event in, but the person at the top of the standings isn’t likely to change the rest of the night.

Simone Biles, who is seeking her ninth U.S. title, has a 1.3-point lead over Kayla DiCello on Friday night. Granted, she started on vault, one of her best and highest-scoring events. But that’s a lot of ground for anyone to make up.

The non-Simone division is much closer. There are eight gymnasts within a half-point of each other, including reigning Olympic champion Suni Lee and fellow Tokyo Olympian Jordan Chiles.— Nancy Armour

US gymnastics championships highlights: Simone Biles cruising toward another national title (2)

Simone Biles putting on a show early

FORT WORTH, Texas – Simone Biles gave the crowd a show in her first event.

Biles did her trademark Yurchenko double pike vault – also known as the Biles II, for those keeping track of all the skills she has named for her – and landed almost cleanly. She needed to take one step and slide her other foot a bit, but she was still rewarded with a 9.4 for execution and a 15.8 overall.

The crowd oohed and aahed, knowing what Biles is doing is extraordinary, even if she makes it look the opposite. The vault is so difficult other women aren’t even training it, but Biles has perfected it to the point that coach Laurent Landi is no longer standing on the podium when she does it, a safety measure that cost her a half-point deduction last season.— Nancy Armour

Suni Lee off to solid start

FORT WORTH, Texas – Competing in all-around for the first time in more than a year, Suni Lee got off to a solid start on what has historically been one of her best events: Balance beam.

Lee, the reigning Olympic all-around champion, barely put a foot wrong in the first half of her routine but had two wobbles in the latter half – only just hanging on at the end of the beam at the end of her aerial series. But a smooth dismount left her with a score of 14.200, which led the field at the end of the first rotation.

Elsewhere, Kayla DiCello and Skye Blakely – both of whom have some work to do to secure a spot on the Paris team – impressed in back-to-back routines on uneven bars. DiCello notched a 14.500, with Blakely just a shade off at 14.400. — Tom Schad

When does Simone Biles compete at the U.S. gymnastics championships?

Simone Biles will compete in Session 2. That means she, and the other big names on the women's side, will be in action starting around 8 p.m. ET on Friday night and around 7 p.m. ET on Sunday night. — Tom Schad

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US Gymnastics Championships: Where to watch

The first half of senior competition for both the men and women will air live on Peaco*ck, which is NBC's streaming platform, and then on a tape delay on CNBC on Saturday — with the men's session airing from noon to 2:30 p.m. ET and the women's session from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The second and final session of men's competition will then air live on both Peaco*ck and CNBC, while the second session of senior women's competition, which will feature Biles, will receive the most prestigious television slot: A prime time broadcast window on NBC on Sunday.

How to see live results from the US gymnastics championships

USA Gymnastics will be providing live results of the women's competition, including Biles' pursuit of a ninth all-around national championship, on its websitehere. The men's results can be viewedhere. –– Tom Schad

US gymnastics championships schedule 2024

The senior women are in action Friday and Sunday. The senior men competed Thursday night and are set for Day 2 Saturday.Unlike the Olympics, where there are separate all-around and apparatus finals, the national championships will consist of two all-around sessions in each gender. More than 50 athletes will also be competing in the junior competition.

  • Friday, 2:45 p.m. to 5 p.m. ET: Senior Women (Session 1), Day 1
  • Friday, 7:45 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET: Senior Women (Session 2), Day 1
  • Saturday, 8 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. ET: Senior Men, Day 2
  • Sunday, 1:45 p.m. to 4 p.m. ET: Senior Women (Session 1), Day 2
  • Sunday, 6:45 p.m. to 9 p.m. ET: Senior Women (Session 2), Day 2

Where are the 2024 US gymnastics championships?

The U.S. championships will run from Thursday to Sunday at Dickies Arena, located a few miles west of downtown Fort Worth. — Tom Schad

Simone Biles is a lock for Paris Olympics. But who's going to join her?

So long as she’s healthy, Simone Biles is going to the Paris Olympics.The obvious was reaffirmed with her big win atthe U.S. Classic in mid-May where Biles finished almost two points ahead of Shilese Jones, an all-around medalist at the last two world championships.Biles brought back some of her big skillsfor the first time since the Tokyo Games, too. There are four other spots on the U.S. team, however, and performances at Classic gave an indication of who will be joining Biles in Paris.Here is Nancy Armour’s look at the contenders.

What happened to Shilese Jones?

Jones, an all-around medalist at the last two world championships, announced Friday afternoon that she was withdrawing from nationals because of a shoulder injury.

Jones tore the labrum in her right shoulder in 2022 and has had problems with it off and on since then. She said Wednesday that it flared up after the U.S. Classic two weeks ago and by last Friday she “barely could raise my arm,” but was going to try and compete here.

“It hurt. I’m not going to lie,” Jones said when asked how it felt after her first training session here Tuesday night.

Jones said she’ll petition for a spot at the Olympic trials, and it’s almost sure to be accepted. In addition to her international success, she was second to Biles at last year’s nationals and again at Classic.

The women’s competition at trials begins in four weeks, June 28.

Why did Gabby Douglas pull out?

Gabby Douglas, 2012 Olympic champion, withdrew from this weekend's national championships, ending her hopes of making the U.S. team for this summer's Paris Games after an almost eight-year absence from competition. Douglas told ESPN she'd injured her ankle this week in training. Her agent, Lowell Taub, declined further comment.

What's at stake at the U.S. gymnastics championships

Because this weekend's event is the last one before the U.S. Olympic gymnastics trials, it is an important showcase for everyone who is hoping to book a ticket to the 2024 Paris Games.

On the women's side, the top two all-around finishers at the U.S. championships will automatically earn a spot at the Olympic trials, where they will be joined by a minimum of 10 other athletes invited at the discretion of USA Gymnastics. Of the 12 or more who compete at the Olympic trials, only five will make Team USA, not including alternates. – Tom Schad

When are the U.S. Gymnastics Olympic Trials?

June 27-30 in Minneapolis.

Suni Lee: What to know

The reigning Olympic all-around champion had the highest score on balance beam at the U.S. Classic in mid-May. While she didn’t compete in uneven bars, her signature event, what she’s shown in training has been impressive and would give the United States three big scores – her, Jones and Biles – on the event.

Lee also plans to do an upgraded vault at nationals, and her floor routine should be more polished. Classic was the first time she’d competed floor in more than a year, since akidney ailment derailed her final season at Auburn and severely limited her training.

"It was really important for me to go out there and fight those demons, compete a floor routine," Lee said. "It’s been a while. Obviously not the routine that I want for the upcoming competitions but I really just wanted to get out there and compete again."

If she does, she gives the Americans a third formidable all-arounder, something few other countries can match.

"It’s going to come down to bars and beam for me," she said. "… I’m hungrier to be able to be in the all-around. That’s been the main priority but we all know, I’m the strongest on those two." –– Nancy Armour

Jade Carey: What to know

The Americans need another big vault score, and Carey would provide that. She’s also strong on floor, where she’s the reigning Olympic champion. Carey was training an upgraded floor routine this week. –– Nancy Armour

Jordan Chiles: What to know

The Tokyo Olympian made a case for herself at the U.S. Classic with a solid performance on all four events. Chiles might not give the United States a massive score on any one event, but she doesn’t leave any holes, either.

"I think realizing that I had the potential," Chiles said of the difference between this season and last, when she struggled with the transition from NCAA to elite.

"A lot of the time, you say you want to do something and you never know what's going to happen, because there's a lot of eyes on you and expectations," Chiles added. "When you put that aside, you realize, 'I'm going to just step forward into it and be the person I need to be and put every effort I need into each and every practice.'" –– Nancy Armour

US gymnastics championships highlights: Simone Biles cruising toward another national title (2024)
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