Skip to content

Simone Biles and the Art of Defying Gravity: A Champion’s Return

Simone Biles

If you were to equate the climax of a gymnastics event to a dramatic home run in baseball, then Simone Biles’ electrifying performance on the floor routine would fit the bill.

On that unforgettable Sunday, Biles not only secured her record-breaking eighth U.S. national all-around title but delivered a near-flawless performance that left everyone awestruck. Laurent Landi, her coach, couldn’t contain his admiration, proclaiming it as the best floor routine he’d ever witnessed from her. As Biles struck her final pose, the SAP Center reverberated with thunderous applause, as if 11,000 fans had been saving up their cheers for the four-time Olympic gold medalist over the past two years.

After the meet, Biles expressed her surreal feelings, saying, “Every time I come out here, I feel like I’m in a fever dream. I feel like nothing’s real. I knew I did a good floor routine, but as soon as I got off and saw the score, I was like, ‘Damn, I need to see that routine.’ Because I wasn’t sure. I’m in the moment. But it doesn’t feel real for some reason. I just, seriously, can’t believe I’m out here competing again. I’m proud of myself for that.”

images 92
Simone Biles Best Performance @the New york Times

While Biles had been leading the competition after the first day and held her ground throughout Sunday, it was her spellbinding floor routine that etched itself into the collective memory of U.S. gymnastics enthusiasts. The handmade signs reading “Simone Zone” and “Biles is Back” held aloft by fans in the audience testified to their unwavering support.

For devotees like the fan who traveled 1,685 miles from Denver to meet up with his father from Seattle, every routine Biles performed felt like a precious bonus. This was especially poignant given her two-year hiatus following the Tokyo Olympics, leaving her future in the sport uncertain until her recent return.

This time around, Biles is taking a different approach to her Olympic journey. She’s keeping her personal goals private, avoiding media interaction until after the competition, and reducing the physical strain on her body, as seen when she opted for just one vault, the Cheng, to protect her sore ankles. While this choice eliminated her from the vault title contention, it was a wise decision made with her safety in mind.

What speaks volumes in Biles’ journey is not just what she does but what she refrains from doing. In a sport where “hitting eight for eight” signifies performing flawlessly in all routines, Biles is transcending the norm with every twist, flip, and leap. Her Yurchenko double pike, a skill attempted by no other woman in competition, is a testament to her extraordinary capabilities.

For the remainder of this Olympic cycle, and however long Biles continues competing at the elite level, the rest of the world must rise to her level. This weekend’s championships showed that nearly every gymnast has elevated their performance in her presence.

Shilese Jones, the reigning all-around silver medalist from the world championships, hadn’t competed for ten months due to injuries but appeared ready to reclaim her medal status in Antwerp, Belgium, in October. Leanne Wong, known for her collegiate achievements, secured bronze in the all-around, her best finish at the national championships.

Looking ahead, the national team will invite up to 18 gymnasts to a mid-September selection camp, where the final five members for the U.S. world championship team will be decided. This selection process emphasizes not only competitive results but also teamwork and readiness for international competition.

In a departure from past practices, the men’s team announced its world championship roster directly after the championships, opting not to hold a selection camp. Asher Hong, at just 19 years old, clinched his first national all-around title and became the youngest U.S. men’s all-around champion in 34 years. Alongside him, Khoi Young and Fred Richard claimed silver and bronze, suggesting a promising future for U.S. men’s gymnastics on the international stage.

Hong expressed confidence in the team’s future, stating that competing challenging routines and embracing the possibility of mistakes is the path to competing with gymnastics powerhouses like China, Japan, and Russia. This bodes well for a U.S. men’s program eager to make its mark after a dry spell in international medals since 2014.

In this era of gymnastics, with Simone Biles as its guiding star, what’s “normal” is constantly being redefined, pushing athletes to new heights and inspiring the world.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Translate »

Discover more from News special

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading