KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Simone Biles could have taken her triple-twisting double-flip (aka “the triple-double”) out of her floor exercise routine Sunday during the final night of the U.S. women’s gymnastics championships. She didn’t need it to assure herself of another national all-around title.
Still, even as her coach, Laurent Landi, left the option up to her after the Olympic champion’s bid to become the first woman to complete the triple-double in competition came up a bit short Friday, he knew the answer.
So Biles threw it at the end of her first tumbling pass. When the dizzying combination ended with her feet firmly on the floor — barely in bounds — the jolt through the packed arena was palpable.
The triple-double served as the exclamation point on her sixth national championship. Her two-day total of 118.500 was nearly five points clear of 16-year-old Sunisa Lee of St. Paul — who was first on uneven bars — in second and almost seven points ahead of third-place finisher Grace McCallum of Isanti.
Biles doesn’t pay too much attention to the margin or her scores. Attempting to find the boundaries of her talent is what drives her.
Lee and 2017 world champion Morgan Hurd were the only women in the field to place ahead of Biles on any event, finishing one-two on bars, solidifying their chances of joining Biles at world championships in Germany in October.
“She does stuff that I never thought people could do,” Lee said of Biles.
When Biles finished off a two-hour showcase that highlighted how wide the gulf between herself and the rest of the world has become by drilling her dismount on uneven bars, she danced.
“It’s a big deal and we all know it,” USA Gymnastics high performance director Tom Forster said. “No one in the world has done it before in the women and actually, she does it better than most of the men who have done it. She should be super excited about that.”