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By Ashley Scoby
Simone Biles was must-see television on Sunday as she put on a show to earn her sixth U.S. all-around title.
So must-see that even Biles herself had to watch.
After nailing her landing to an unprecedented triple-double during her floor exercise in the U.S. Championships in Kansas City , Biles grabbed her phone between rotations to look up the video.
“I didn’t want to be the last person to see it,” Biles laughed afterwards. “We’re not usually on our phones, but I just wanted to see what it looked like.”
Surely no one would fault her for taking a moment to lay eyes on what the rest of the country had just witnessed: a skill that no woman before Biles has ever completed.
Biles’ career has been all about pushing the limit of what’s been done, then pushing herself past even that. Her career has been one unstoppable ball of kinetic energy, constantly expanding the bounds of moves once thought impossible.
Her tradition of reimagining what’s possible in the sport was celebrated again Sunday, as she took home her sixth U.S. all-around crown in unprecedented fashion.
She won every event except bars, and she still earned a bronze medal there.
Biles ran off the floor after her bars routine, arms swinging wildly, and a huge grin splitting her face.
“I was a lot happier today because I feel like I haven’t been as confident on bars this year as I was last year, so to finally do a good routine like I can do it, I was really happy,” she said.
This weekend was all about Biles marking off historical accomplishment after historical accomplishment. On Friday, she nearly stuck a double double dismount on beam, becoming the first gymnast to perform the skill.
Tonight, Biles, once again, included the triple-double in her floor routine. She did it for the first time on the first day of competition Friday but landed short and stumbled forward. On Sunday, on the final day of competition at the U.S. Championships, Biles stuck the landing on a move only she has completed in the history of women’s gymnastics. The nearly packed Sprint Center crowd knew the move was coming, but still exhaled in cheers when she landed it with ease.
“You carry that momentum through the whole entire meet,” Biles said of landing her first two routines so well, especially after her night on Friday, where she admitted she struggled. “The other day I was doing angry gymnastics and I was really upset, and today I was back to normal and happy.”
With her all-around title, Biles becomes the first and only woman since Clara Schroth Lomady in 1945-46 and 1949-52 to win six all-around golds. Biles trains at World Champions Centre.
Sunisa Lee of Midwest Twisters placed second in the all-around, buoyed by a gold on bars and a bronze on the floor. Grace McCallum of Twin City Twisters won the all-around bronze, and First State’s Morgan Hurd bounced back from a tough Day 1 of competition to secure fourth place.
Hurd came into the final day in eighth place and “upset” with her performance in the first day of competition. But she put together strong beam (14.600) and vault (14.350) performances on Sunday to propel herself into fourth place.
“I’m very happy,” Hurd said. “I’m pretty proud of myself too because I could have let something like the first night really get to me and really let my nerves get to me, which would have really affected my performance. But I’m really proud of myself for keeping it together and just wiping the entire slate just completely clean and just going out and performing to the best of my ability tonight.”
Sunday also concluded with the naming of the 2019 U.S. national team: Biles, Jade Carey (Arizona Sunrays), Jordan Chiles (World Champions Centre), Kara Eager (GAGE), Hurd, Lee, McCallum, Riley McCusker (MG Elite), MyKayla Skinner (Desert Lights), Trinity Thomas (University of Florida) and Leanne Wong (GAGE).
Earlier in the day, Kayla DiCello of Hill’s Gymnastics clinched the junior women’s all-around crown.