Simone Biles is officially back.
The four-time Olympic gold medalist returned to the long-awaited competition Saturday at the Core Hydration Classic in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, where her Olympic teammates Suni Lee, Jade Carey and Jordan Chiles are also competing in select competitions.
Biles entered the event to qualify for next month’s US national championships, but has done so much more. She passed the all-around with a total score of 59,100 to reassert herself among the sport’s elite. Florida’s Leanne Wong is second with 54,100, while rising star Joscelyn Roberson is third with 54,050.
In terms of perspective, the winning point in the 2021 Olympic all-around competition is 57,433.
Biles achieved her highest score, 15,400, on the arch with a Yurchenko double hit, a skill that will be named after her after she achieves it in international competition. You can see the joy spreading in her after landing:
You can also hear the joy from the stands. The Now Arena crowd went wild when Biles hit Yurchenko’s double in reality, but saved the loudest cheers for the competition.
Biles didn’t win the individual competition because she only completed one jump, but she also won the floor and barbell exercise.
It’s a victory for a gymnast whose future in the sport is in question after Tokyo, where she comes in as the favorite candidate to win a medal. second almighty gold in a row. Instead, America has learned what “twists” are.
Biles dropped out of the team competition after faltering on the arch and did not return until the final individual event, the balance bar, where she won bronze. Her experience, in which she was unable to perform the real-world skills she had acquired over the years, shows the mental strain elite athletes can go through.
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Biles spent the next two years not competing, instead improving himself by going to therapy, going on vacation, and marrying Green Bay Packers defensive back Jonathan Owens. Her return has been rumored for months after fans noticed her in the background of teammates’ practice videos, but was only confirmed at the end of June.
As she told the CNBC broadcast, she’s still a work in progress:
“After everything that happened in Tokyo, I’ve trained myself a lot. I still do therapy weekly. It’s been exciting to come out here and have the confidence I had before, especially. after everything that’s happened. Reading those comments, people still glorify me and want me to do well, it means the world because I feel like a lost part of it.”
Next up for Biles will be the national championship in San Jose later this month. She did not confirm her status for the 2024 Olympics in Paris, but said she would go in that direction
“We’re still in the process of working. My main goal is this and then the championship, then the worlds, then we’ll see. So far things are going. I’m on the right track, but I still have to work on my own. I’ll still do my therapy, I’ll put myself first.”