KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Simone Biles left the GOAT leotard at home. She brought a double-double and a triple-double to the U.S. Gymnastics Championships instead, winning her sixth national all-around title in a runaway.
Biles hit a skill that no woman has ever done, for a second straight night of competition — this time a triple twisting double somersault on floor exercise — en route to winning by a hefty 4.95 points over Sunisa Lee.
Next up: October’s world championships, where Biles will be heavily favored to extend her female record with a fifth all-around title. She will undoubtedly lead the five-woman team that is named after a September selection camp.
“I’m almost back to where I was at  Worlds,” Biles said on NBC, referencing last October’s meet where she won the all-around by the largest margin in history (with two falls and a kidney stone) and earned medals on every apparatus for the first time at a major international meet. “Of course it’s going to take some time, but we’re starting the journey.”
GYM NATIONALS:Full Results
But first a few more notes on nationals.
Biles tiedClara Schroth Lomady‘s record six U.S. women’s titles from the AAU era in the 1940s and ’50s. Biles didn’t dominate as much as last year, when she won all five gold medals after taking 2017 off from competition. Sheonlywon four of the five this week.
But she increased her already unmatched difficulty with that floor tumbling pass (the triple-double) and a double twisting double somersault dismount off the balance beam (the double-double) that she threw Friday.
The difficulty has been the difference in Biles’ second Olympic cycle. From 2013-16, her largest gap in difficulty over an Olympic or world championships field was nine tenths of a point. Last year, it was 2.7 points at worlds.
Biles stood out upon arriving in Kansas City by training in a leotard withthe image of a sparkling goat’s head designed into the back. She thentearfully expressed dissatisfactionwith USA Gymnastics for failing to protect her and other Larry Nassar survivors.
Biles, wearing a non-GOAT leotard, comfortably led after Friday night but said she wanted to walk out of the building 15 seconds into her first routine. She overcooked the triple-double and put her hands down on the landing. She later used an expletive to describe her subpar uneven bars set before finishing with the double-double off beam.
Angry, Biles vowed to come back Sunday and hit the triple-double. The GOAT delivered, extending her win streak to 20 straight all-arounds over six years.
Her supporting cast at worlds will again include four women bidding for their first Olympic team next year.
Among the contenders going into September’s selection camp: Lee improved from third in the junior division at last year’s nationals to a runner-up to Biles this week. Grace McCallum moved up from ninth after Friday to third, boosting her bid for a second straight worlds.
Morgan Hurd, the 2017 World all-around champion during Biles’ break, improved from eighth place after Friday to fourth.
Riley McCusker, a 2018 World team member who was second to Biles at the U.S. Classic last month, withdrew after two routines Sunday night due to illness.
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Laurie Hernandez, who still plans to return to gymnastics competition in early 2020, is hopeful to start that process in November by attending her first national team camp in three years.
Hernandez, a Rio Olympic team champion and balance beam silver medalist, returned to training 10 months ago at a new gym with new coaches after two years off.
“I’m really proud of the progress we’ve made,” Hernandez said Saturday while attending the U.S. Championships as a spectator, noting she’s training five hours per day and six days per week. “I do think it’s realistic to be able to compete next year and do well. … Making the Olympic team, that’s definitely why I’m coming back.”
Hernandez is not guaranteed to be part of the November national team camp even if she wants to. Hernandez has not spoken with U.S. high-performance coordinatorTom Forster, but said her coaches have.
Gymnasts not on the national team must request an invite to a camp, usually through a process that involves submitting training videos of routines for review.
Hernandez’s Olympic bid would be an Everest-like climb. She would be returning a year later than Aly Raisman and Gabby Douglas did in the last Olympic cycle, when they successfully returned from breaks to become the first U.S. female gymnasts to make multiple Olympic teams since 2000.
Moreover, the Olympic team-event size drops from five gymnasts in 2012 and 2016 to four in 2020, putting a greater emphasis on gymnasts who can perform well on all four apparatuses.
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Simone Biles goes for a record-tying sixth U.S. women’s all-around title, live on NBC and streaming on NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app on Sunday night.
Biles carries a 1.75-point lead from the first night of competition Friday, where she debuted a new floor exercise pass and a balance beam dismount that should be named after her come October’s world championships.
Biles is looking to matchClara Schroth Lomady‘s record six women’s titles from the AAU era in the 1940s and ’50s. Biles, on a six-year win streak, won her tune-up event, last month’s U.S. Classic, by 2.1 points, her largest margin of victory of her four titles in that competition.
Gymnasts are competing to impress selectors for the five-woman team for worlds in Stuttgart, Germany. The roster will be named after a September selection camp, but strong showings this weekend could go a long way.
Sunisa Lee, bidding for her first world team, was the surprise in second place after Friday’s session.Riley McCusker, the runner-up to Biles at the U.S. Classic, and Morgan Hurd, the 2017 World all-around champion during Biles’ post-Rio year off, were in fourth and eighth place, respectively.
The U.S. women won all six Olympic or world team titles dating to 2011, the longest dynasty since the Soviet Union teams of the 1970s.
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