Four-time Olympic gold medallist Simone Biles has won a record-setting eighth all-around title at the US Gymnastics Championships, another step on a comeback trail pointing towards next year’s Paris Olympics.
Ten years after she first leapt to the top of her sport as a teenage prodigy, the now 26-year-old Biles posted an all-around two-day total of 118.40, four points clear of runner-up Shilese Jones. Florida junior Leanne Wong claimed third, bolstering her chances of making a third straight United States world championship team.
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Biles electrified the SAP Center in San Jose, California, with a soaring floor routine that included a rock-solid landing.
It was her final event of the competition and brought ecstatic fans to their feet, earning a score of 15.400.
Biles’s feat broke the record for most all-around titles for a man or woman, set by Alfred Jochim who won seven between 1925-33 when the Amateur Athletics Union ran the championships. Biles had herself matched that record in 2021.
Biles’s triumph came in just the second competition of her return from a two-year break, which followed her dramatic withdrawal from multiple events at the pandemic-delayed Tokyo Olympics in 2021.
At the pinnacle of the sport and out to defend the four gold medals she had won in Rio, Biles pulled out of most of her events in Tokyo citing the “twisties” – the dangerous phenomenon in which gymnasts lose their sense of where they are in the air.
Having served notice that she still has the power and athleticism to dominate her rivals, Biles’s next stop is Antwerp in late September, where she will try to add to the 25 medals – 18 of them gold – she has won in the course of her career.