Simone Biles soars as Gabby Douglas scratches at historically gilded US Classic

Simone Biles certainly seems ready for Paris, with more than two months to go before the Olympics begin.

The gymnastics superstar began her bid for a third Olympic team on Saturday looking as dominant as ever at the US Classic, with an all-around score of 59.500, almost two points ahead of runner-up Shilese Jones.

The 27-year-old Biles, the 2016 Olympic champion, posted the highest scores on vault and floor exercises and was second on uneven bars and balance beam in her debut in 2024.

“I was just happy to be out there again, getting through those nerves again and feeling that adrenaline,” Biles said. “I can’t really complain about how the first meeting was.”

She performed a handful of her signature skills, including hitting the Yurchenko double pike on vault and a tumbling pass that ends with a triple twisting double somersault.

Biles completed the jump – which required her to put her hands on her knees as she performed two backward twists – as coach Laurent Landi watched from the side. Landi had stood on the podium during previous attempts to spot Biles, a decision that cost her a neutral half-point deduction.

Although Biles wasn’t perfect — she took a few long steps back on the step-off of her jump and caught so much air on the triple-double that she ended up out of bounds — her mix of difficulty and precision remains the standard in the sport.

Biles is a virtual lock for the five-woman U.S. Olympic team, should she stay healthy. The big question to be answered over the next six weeks is who will join her in France.

Brilliant on the bars and steady everywhere else, Jones should be confident heading into the US Championships later this month and the Olympic Trials at the end of June.

After that, things get murky.

Gabby Douglas, the 2012 Olympic champion, hoped to use the US Classic as a springboard. Instead, she will leave with questions about the road ahead.

The 28-year-old, who made a comeback after an extended break following the 2016 Olympics, fell twice on uneven bars and withdrew from the four remaining events.

Sunisa Lee, who won the Olympic title at the 2020 Games in Tokyo, has been struggling with kidney problems for eighteen months that have made training difficult. She competed in three events and her elegant beam routine earned her a 14.600, slightly ahead of Biles’ 14.550.

Jordan Chiles, the 2020 Olympic silver medalist, was third in the all-around with 55.450. Jade Carey, who won gold on the floor in Tokyo, came fourth.

Konnor McClain, the 2022 U.S. champion, left the competition with an Achilles injury suffered during warm-ups during floor exercises.