KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Simone Biles said she was “pissed off” after her first routine, swore on national television after her third and spent much of the two-hour competition wanting to scratch and walk away from a meet for the first time in six years.
“I just want to throw it in the trash and start over,” Biles reflected on her night, looking ahead to Sunday.
Yet she still made history on the first night of women’s competition at the 2019 U.S. Gymnastics Championships.
Ending on balance beam, Biles became the first gymnast ever to attempt and land a double twisting, double somersault dismount.
“I’m really happy with the beam dismount and how it’s come along, because if you had asked me after [U.S. Classic] if I was going to compete it, I would’ve said no,” Biles admitted. “I feel like in those short two weeks we did a lot of work on a couple of the events, so I’m pretty excited with how it turned out.”
The skill will be named after Biles once she competes it at an international meet, such as this fall’s world championships. It would mark the third skill named after the 22-year-old, who already has eponymous skills on vault and floor exercise.
The four-time Olympic and 14-time world champion started the night attempting to make history on floor exercise with what could become the Biles II on that apparatus, becoming the first woman to attempt a triple-double in competition – with two flips and three twists in the air. Upon landing, Biles fell forward, touching the floor with her hand.
“It was too much, and for the triple-double you kind of need to lean back a little, and I went straight up and straight down, so that’s why I did that and then put my hand down,” she explained.
Yet she still finished the first of the two-night meet, which is part of the Team USA Champions Series, presented by Xfinity, in first place with a total score of 58.650, a dominant 1.75 ahead of second-place Sunisa Lee (56.900); two-time world medalist Jade Carey is in third with 56.100 points.
That’s how good Biles is.
But on a night where she made history, the mistakes are what stood out most to the perfectionist.
Disappointed with the majority of her performances, Biles said she wasn’t sure what to make of the fact that she still holds such a strong lead.
“Honestly as soon as I fell on floor, I was like, that’s it I’m scratching the meet, I’m walking off the floor. On my last pass I felt like I had tears in my eyes and that’s the only time I truly felt sorry for myself in a real long time, but you have to keep the momentum going,” she said. “Mistakes will happen, it’s the hardest field in the world. …
“It’s just so annoying because I’ve never [fallen forward on the triple-double] in the gym, so I had a lot more adrenaline than I wanted. I’ll come back Sunday and hopefully it’ll go better.”
With such a high degree of difficulty – a full point higher than all but one athlete in the field (Bile’s 6.700 to Carey’s 6.300) – she still had the highest score of the night on floor with a 14.350.
In the next rotation, Biles’ first vault earned a 15.300 and second scored 15.500, both the highest scores on that event.
Then came uneven bars, which she called “a piece of sh--.”
“Should I have probably cussed? No, I probably shouldn’t have done that, but it was real,” Biles admitted. “It’s what I felt in that moment. And I recognize that it was not good. I don’t know how I made that to be honest.”
Uneven bars has long been Biles’ weakest event, finishing as low as fifth at nationals in 2015. She had a breakthrough last year, however, appearing to dominate on every apparatus.
Biles won all four event titles – plus the all-around – at the 2018 U.S. championships, becoming the first woman to do so since Dominique Dawes in 1994. Then at the world championships, after having earned nine individual event medals across beam, floor and vault at three prior trips to worlds, Biles finally medaled on bars, claiming silver and eventually becoming the first woman in the world to medal in every event at a single worlds since 1987.
At last month’s U.S. Classic, Biles’ bars nightmares returned when she scored a 14.450 to place fifth on the event.
Her score Friday was 14.050, tying her for fourth at the moment with Leanne Wong.
“Bars – I don’t know, we’re not getting along right now,” Biles shrugged. “I don’t think anything can helps bars at this point. Last year, bars were better.”
However, Biles doesn’t entirely regret what she said after the routine.
“If you just show no emotion, you’re kind of at a plateau,” she said regarding how she has continued to express herself more as her career has progressed. “I feel like, before, I was a little bit scared to show emotion, but now it is what it is, whatever happens, happens; and it’s OK to be mad if you think you did a bad routine.”