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Simone Biles sweeps 2024 national gymnastics championships, wins ninth all-around title

The 27-year-old is the first to sweep nationals since her own feat in 2018, and is again the oldest American national champion in U.S. history.

Simone Biles, right, with Jordan Chiles on podium for the uneven bars event at the 2024 Xfinity U.S. Gymnastics Championships at Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, Texas, on June 2, 2024. (Elisa/Getty Images)

Ahead of the 2024 Paris Olympics, Simone Biles is once again the all-around national champion in women’s gymnastics, for the record-extending ninth time in her illustrious competitive career. 

She bested all comers in the two-day Xfinity U.S. Gymnastics Championships over the weekend in Fort Worth, Texas, where she separated herself from defending Olympic all-around champion Suni Lee by a full nine points. Bile’s win featured a first-day score of 60.450—the highest of any female gymnast in the world during the current Olympic cycle.

“Today it was just getting out here, getting comfortable and confident in my gymnastics, and hopefully going to Olympic trials and making that next step towards Paris," Biles told NBC News on Sunday. 

“I couldn’t be more proud of how I’m doing this time in the year and just gaining that confidence over and over, getting myself back in front of a crowd and just doing what I do in practice.” 

Biles’ final score topped silver medalist Skye Blakely by nearly six points. Winning gold in every event, Biles became the first female gymnast to sweep the podiums at nationals since she did the same in 2018. The last gymnast to accomplish the feat was a fellow Black Catholic in Dominique Dawes in 1994. Biles also re-upped her record as the oldest woman to win a national title, after first breaking the record in 2023.

The win this year for Biles featured a series of dominant displays, including her signature “Biles II” Yurchenko double pike vault on Saturday, which paired with a characteristically stellar floor routine to put her well ahead of the competition early on.

Despite a fall on one vault attempt on Sunday, Biles managed top scores in the event as well as on floor, her specialty. Perhaps unexpected was her triumph on the uneven bars, where the 27-year-old veteran typically sticks to clean-cut, relatively simple routines.

Lee was expected to be her main competition in that event and overall at nationals, but she also opted for a moderate scheme on bars that ultimately garnered lower marks. Lee’s struggles on the vault on day one ultimately spelled doom for her all-around prospects, resulting in a fourth-place finish. University of Florida sophomore Kayla DiCello took bronze.

This year’s nationals marked the third consecutive top-two sweep for Black female gymnasts in the all-around, with Biles repeating her first-place finish from last year, where Shilese Jones took silver. During Biles’ two-year hiatus after the Tokyo Olympics, Konnor McClain, Jones, and Jordan Chiles swept the podium in 2022. This year’s meet saw four Black competitors finish in the top six despite neither McClain nor Jones participating due to injury.

Their absence leaves a plethora of questions ahead of the U.S. Olympic Trials in Minneapolis later this month. Jones has filed a successful petition to compete there, where she will be joined by Blakely, Chiles, Lee, DiCello, Biles, and 10 others seeking to qualify for Paris.

Already the most decorated gymnast ever, Biles is aiming to make her third-straight Olympic team, a feat accomplished only three times in American history—most recently by Dawes more than two decades ago. For now, though, the Houston native says she’s enjoying the moment on her home turf in Texas.

“Everyone says I look like I'm having fun, so that's good,” she said after the competition on Sunday. “I feel like most of the time, if I'm not stressing or having anxiety, I do feel like I'm having fun, so it's good to have that and feel that again.”

Nate Tinner-Williams is co-founder and editor of Black Catholic Messenger.

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