Simone Biles’ quest for record-extending 9th US Gymnastics Championship title begins

Simone Biles’ quest for a record-extending ninth US Gymnastics Championship title began on Friday in Fort Worth, Texas.

The 27-year-old finished the first day of the senior women’s all-around competition in first place with a score of 60.450. Skye Blakely finished in second place and Kayla DiCello in third place.

Biles started on the vault, executing a Yurchenko double pike and then a Cheng to finish with a 15.800 - the highest score of the competition.

Even though the uneven bars are considered Biles’ “weakest” event, she scored a 14.650 to extend her lead through two rotations. On her third rotation - the balance beam - Biles continued her stellar performance, finishing with a 14.800.

Biles finished the night on the floor and scored a 15.200 to solidify her lead and enter Sunday with a great chance to win the title.

Biles is looking to claim a record-extending ninth all-around victory at the national championships – the final event for US gymnasts before the Olympic Trials in late June.

Biles’ fellow all-around Olympic champion Suni Lee finished in fourth place Friday, while reigning Olympic floor champion Jade Carey finished in eighth place.

The women’s team to compete at Paris 2024 will be chosen after the Olympic Trials, with the winner of the all-around competition at the Trials automatically making the team.

If Biles can qualify for her third Olympic Games, she will return to the competition where, three years ago, she experienced the “twisties” – a mental block causing gymnasts to lose track of their body positions – and had to withdraw from several events.

Simone Biles competes on the beam Friday in Fort Worth, Texas. - Jim Cowsert/AP
Simone Biles competes on the beam Friday in Fort Worth, Texas. - Jim Cowsert/AP

Meanwhile, Brody Malone ended the first day of the men’s competition with a comfortable lead, ahead of Fred Richard and Maksim Kan.

The 2022 high bar world champion was competing in his first all-around event since suffering a serious knee injury on that apparatus in March 2023 and sits in a strong position going into the final day of competition on Saturday.

How to watch the competition’s conclusion

The men’s competition continues on Saturday at 6 p.m. ET while the women next take to the arena on Sunday at 6:45 p.m. ET.

All podium training sessions will be available to watch on – USA Gymnastics’ streaming service – while Peacock, NBC and CNBC will broadcast the main sessions.

Viewers outside the US can also follow the event on the USA Gymnastics YouTube channel. More viewing details are available on the USA Gymnastics website.

Correction: A previous version of this story misstated how gymnasts would qualify for the US Olympic team for Paris 2024.

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