Boston, Massachusetts, USA : Simone Biles has become the first woman ever to win five U.S. Gymnastics all-around titles after she added another gold medal at the United States Gymnastics Championships on Sunday in Boston.
She became the first American woman to earn five national all-around titles since U.S.A. Gymnastics began overseeing the event in 1970, and she was the first to sweep all four events at the championships since Dominique Dawes did so in 1994. She was also the oldest women’s all-around champion since 1971.
Since making her debut at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships in 2013, Biles has been an unstoppable force. She has taken gold in the all-around in each of her five appearances at the event—she didn’t participate last year while taking a hiatus—and has won 16 gold medals across every discipline.
After taking all of 2017 off from competition, Biles began training last October with an eye on competing for Team USA at the 2020 Olympics. Her first event back was an overwhelming success with two years to go before the Tokyo Games.
Simone Biles had nothing to prove at the United States gymnastics championships this weekend, the second stop on her comeback tour. But she had one person to please: Herself.
“I can quit if I wanted to,” Biles said Friday, after the first night of competition. She did just that, for a while — forgoing training for most of 2017 after winning the all-around title at the Rio Olympics in 2016, making room for both celebrity appearances and downtime with family and friends.
But Biles, 21, knew that she could still push herself and, perhaps more important, that she could enjoy the ride. So she returned to competition and on Sunday night put an exclamation point on her status as the world’s best female gymnast.
“I didn’t think coming into the events this year I would do as well as I did,” Biles said. “I knew I was capable of it, but I kind of thought I was going to be a nervous wreck.”
She added: “But so far, so good.”
The result felt predetermined even as Biles showed up at TD Garden. The only question was: How much she would win by? The answer was 6.55 points — she could have fallen more than once and still placed first. These championships were mostly a race for the silver medal, which was won by Morgan Hurd, the 2017 world all-around champion. Riley McCusker repeated as the bronze medalist, and last year’s national champion, Ragan Smith, finished a distant 10th.
“I feel like this has given me the burst of confidence that I needed going into the rest of the season,” Hurd said.
The screams for Biles were ear-piercing. Fans and competitors alike shouted encouragement as she nailed routine after big routine. (The crowd seemed to hold a collective breath for her just once, as she wobbled during a turn on beam.) Her highest score Sunday came on vault, with a 15.600.
But Biles’s thrilling return has not overshadowed the fallout of the s****l abuse scandal that has rocked U.S.A. Gymnastics, the sport’s governing body. Lawrence G. Nassar, the former women’s national team doctor, was sentenced in January to 40 to 175 years in prison for his abuse of young athletes, with hundreds of gymnasts, including Biles, making their stories a matter of public record by testifying in court.
Biles said she competed in a teal leotard — the color of s****l abuse awareness and prevention — to honor the victims