A decade later, Simone Biles is still at the top.
The gymnast won her record-breaking eighth US championship Sunday night, ten years after she rose to the top of her sport as a teenage prodigy.
Arguably the best of all time, now 26, newly married Biles posted a total of 118.40 over the two days of all-around, four points ahead of runner-up Shilese Jones. Leanne Wong was third.
Biles is all but certain of a return to the gym, where she earned her first world title in 2013. She will travel to Belgium for the World Championships this fall, where she will try to extend her record of 25 medals.
Over the course of two exciting evenings at the SAP Center, Biles made it clear that even after a two-year hiatus following the Tokyo Olympics, gymnastics is “the best ever” and more.
She was the oldest woman to win the national championship since the United States hosted the event in 1963. With eight crowns, she overtakes Alfred Jochim, who won seven from 1925 to 1933 when the Amateur Athletic Union organized the championships and events in the men’s branch that included rope climbing.
“I don’t think about the numbers,” Biles said. “I think about my performance. And I think overall I was 8 out of 8. I guess that’s a lucky number this year.”
The sport has come a long way in the last century. No one has spent more time in the Elite than Biles, and over the past 10 years, he has used his unique talents to push the boundaries in more ways than one.
The spikes shouldn’t last that long. Most 26-year-old top gymnasts, at least those who haven’t retired, just want to hold on to what’s left.
Biles isn’t interested. That has never been the case. Bored with the routine. He insists he’s now “competing for her,” and his radically different attitude shows he’s not lying.
Instead of everyone watching her journey to the third Olympics, Biles trains behind closed doors.
“I prefer to keep my goals personal and understand what I’m looking for,” Biles said. “I think it’s better that way. I’m trying to do things a little differently this year than in the past. I think it worked for me, and I will continue to keep it a secret.