Simone Biles once again dominated the U.S. gymnastic championships, this year held in Fort Worth. The Texan won Sunday’s meet for a record-breaking seventh time, and appears well on her way to another big Olympic performance.
Emily Giambalvo, a staff writer for the Washington Post, told Texas Standard that even with a deep bench of talented gymnasts competing in Fort Worth, Biles once again stood out from the pack.
“She went out for two days of competition, floor routines each day, and performed nearly perfect routines also with some of the hardest skills you’ll see in the world,” she said. “So just a really good set for her on the way to Tokyo showing that she is ready to go back to the Olympics and defend her all-around title.”
Despite her win, Biles did not pull out her ace-in-the-hole during the competition.
“She is inventing new skills that no gymnast in the world has ever done before,” Giambalvo said. “And she particularly has this brand new vault that has a double flip off the table which we’ve never seen before in women’s gymnastics, and she did that two weeks ago at the U.S. Classic.”
Giambalvo says Biles chose not to do that particular vault because of the pressure to her ankles, thought she is expected to attempt it at the upcoming Olympic trials.
Biles’ gymnastic prowess has taken some criticism for being too good. Giambalvo says gymnastics officials seem to be undervaluing the difficulty of some of her skills.
“This new vault was given a 6.6, which is still the highest difficulty value any vault in the world has, but it’s only a couple tenths higher than her other vaults,” she said. “So some people wonder should it even be a little bit more than that.”
Though Biles garners most of the attention, Giambalvo says there are two other gymnasts to watch this season: Sunisa Lee and Jordan Chiles.
“Jordan Chiles is actually a training partner of Simone Biles’; both of them had really fantastic performances at this U.S. Nationals. And I think they are pretty close to securing their spot at the trials, and the rest will just be a race for that fourth spot,” she said.