Maggie Nichols said “I know that God has a plan for me and bigger and better things in my future,” in the moments after her Olympic dream ended at the U.S. trials in July.
Despite finishing sixth in the all-around competition at trials, she did not make the team or the list of three alternates and decided to retire from "elite competition."
Seven months later, the Little Canada, Minn., product is the first women’s gymnast in Oklahoma program history to record a perfect 10 in three different events. On Friday, Nichols won the floor event for the No. 1 Sooners with a perfect 10.
Nichols also won the all-around title for the sixth time this season with a score of 39.675, and tied for first in the bars with a 9.9. Top-ranked Oklahoma beat No. 16 Auburn 198.075-195.725.
Nichols, who graduated from Roseville High School and competed for the Twin City Twisters club, is one of the nation’s top gymnasts just six meets into her freshman season. She recorded her first perfect 10 on the vault during the Sooners’ third meet. Two weeks later, she earned a 10 on the beam. After Friday's perfect score, she now has earned a 10 in back-to-back meets.
The freshman star’s 39.875 all-around high this season is an all-time program best. She is the best gymnast at a program that has won two of the last three national championships.
Five-time Olympic medalist Simone Biles, Nichols’ former U.S. teammate and a best friend, was in attendance at Friday’s meet. Nichols told the OU Daily “Before I went, I said, ‘Give me some of your power,’ and (Biles) did. I kind of just changed my mindset a little bit, and I really wanted to go out there and have a lot of fun.”
Nichols told Excelle Sports in January “These college competitions are very upbeat and exciting, so they’re definitely a lot more fun than elite gymnastics. It’s definitely different but it’s a great experience to have people cheering for me and supporting me no matter what I do. And I love it.”
Watch Nichols’ perfect 10 floor routine: