Simone Biles Takes First Place at U.S. Classic in First Return to Competition Since 2016 Rio Olympics


Simone Biles entered the final rotation Saturday at the 2018 GK U.S. Classic trailing Riley McCusker by four-tenths of a point. Biles was back on the competition floor almost two years after winning five medals at the 2016 Olympic Games, four of them gold. There were some nerves from the defending Olympic all-around champion—an overrotated opening tumbling pass on floor exercise, a slightly uncontrolled landing on vault and fall on the uneven bars.

McCusker opened the final rotation on floor exercise where she posted a 13.600. Biles headed to balance beam where she needed a 14.0 to regain the lead.

She made her difficult routine look effortless to earn a 15.2 and the title. McCusker finished second while reigning world champion Morgan Hurd rallied after an earlier mistake to take third.

Biles’s all-around score of 58.700 is the top score in the quadrennial thus far and she also has top scores on vault (15.4), floor (14.75) and beam. It’s only her first competition back and she had mistakes as well. There is another two years before the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo and plenty of time for Biles to just keep getting better.

HER COMEBACK

Biles made her return to competition earlier in the Olympic cycle than Final Five teammates Aly Raisman and Gabby Douglas did ahead of the 2016 Games. Both Raisman and Douglas were back on the competition floor in March 2015 at the City of Jesolo Trophy meet, about 18 months before the Rio Olympics.

Biles is back with enough time to compete in three national championships and two world championships. She already has 14 world medals including three all-around crowns. The only events where she does not have a world title are vault and uneven bars.

HER DIFFICULTY

The scoring system might have changed following the 2016 Olympics, but Biles’s difficulty hasn’t, at least not much. Gymnasts lost a half a point off their start value on each event after the latest Code of Points change for a total of two points lower.

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SOURCE: Sports Illustrated, Lauren Green