Simone Biles Wins Her 9th US Gymnastics Championships, Gears Up for Paris Olympics - Entertainment Mind
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Simone Biles Wins Her 9th US Gymnastics Championships, Gears Up for Paris Olympics

FORT WORTH, Texas — Gymnastics superstar Simone Biles secured her ninth U.S. Championship on Sunday, reaffirming her dominance in the sport at age 27 and over a decade into her illustrious career.

Biles achieved a two-day all-around total of 119.750, nearly six points ahead of runner-up Skye Blakely. This performance suggests she is in prime form to aim for a second all-around Olympic gold to accompany the one she won in 2016.

Performing in front of an audience that included her husband, Chicago Bears safety Jonathan Owens, Biles delivered a masterclass in gymnastics across four rotations. Her performance showcased her trademark athleticism, precision, and confidence.

Biles posted the highest two-day score across all four events, a feat she had only accomplished once before at nationals in 2018. This sets her up with strong momentum heading into the Olympic trials later this month in Minneapolis.

Her only misstep occurred during the vault. Biles struggled with her Yurchenko double pike – two backflips with her hands behind her knees – during warmups and overcompensated during the competition, resulting in a fall. Despite this, she still received a 15.000, highlighting the difficulty and rarity of the vault. She quickly recovered, scoring a 15.1 on a subsequent Cheng vault, securing her ninth national title. This is a significant achievement, considering no other U.S. gymnast has won more than seven national titles.

While Biles continues to lead, the competition for the remaining four spots on the five-woman U.S. team for the Paris Olympics is fierce. The team is expected to be strong contenders for gold, aiming to reclaim the top spot after finishing second to Russia in Tokyo.

Blakely, 19, delivered another strong performance and will head to Minneapolis with significant momentum. After an injury thwarted her bid for the 2020 Olympic team, Blakely is peaking at the right time.

Suni Lee, the 2020 Olympic champion, who has been battling kidney issues, overcame an early mistake on vault to deliver impressive routines on the uneven bars and balance beam, routines few can match, including Biles.

Olympians Jordan Chiles and Jade Carey are also in contention, despite both experiencing falls on the beam on Sunday. Third-place finisher Kayla DiCello had a slip on the uneven bars, and Leanne Wong, possibly fatigued from a long season competing at Florida, also had uncharacteristic errors.

Shilese Jones, regarded as the best all-around gymnast in the U.S. after Biles, withdrew from the championships on Friday due to a shoulder injury. However, she reported feeling better and plans to compete in the trials. Eighteen-year-old Kaliya Lincoln, who did not compete on Sunday after a minor injury on Friday, also aims to be ready for the trials.

If healthy, Jones and Lincoln are strong contenders for the Paris team. If not, the door may open for other gymnasts, testing the depth of the U.S. senior elite program.