By Terrance Turner
June 27, 2021
Simone Biles overcame a rough start to clinch the top spot in this year’s Tokyo Olympics tonight. Expectations were high — including her own. Biles has been so spectacular on meet after meet that NBC Sports praised her as the “Greatest of All Time”.
That “GOAT” label came after a string of stellar performances: she won her 6th all-around title in women’s gymnastics in August 2019. She performed a triple-double at the meet, soaring therough the air to complete two flips and three full twists…and landed. It’s the first time a woman has done this in competition, per NBC Sports.
Earlier this month, Biles won her seventh all-around title — more than any other woman in history — at the U.S. Gymnastics Championship in Fort Worth, TX. She had the top scores in beam, floor exercises and vault. (It’s the fourth time she has had the top scores on three or more events at nationals.) So she, and the audience, expected the best.
It wasn’t. Biles began with two solid but unspectacular vaults; she was visibly dismayed by her performance. An otherwise great parallel bars routine was marred by an error on the lower bar. What looked like a minor mistake was a disaster for Biles. “I wanna die,” she said once she left the platform.
Then, on the balance beam, Biles wobbled so badly that she was forced to hop off the beam. It was a glaring error uncharacteristic of her, and Biles was devastated. She was seen weeping afterward. But she wasn’t the only one to tear up tonight. Nor was she the only one to make a costly mistake.
Jordan Chiles shined on her beam routine. But Grace McCallum landed out of bounds on floor. McCallum landed so far outside the lines that she barely avoided the edge of the platform. Mikayla Skimmer failed to stick the landings on either of her vaults, and she too cried after her routine. NBC cameras showed her sobbing afterward.
Jordan Chiles also got emotional, but for a totally different reason. Chiles burst into tears after a dazzling floor routine. She got a standing ovation from the audience — and a big hug from Biles.
“I’m so proud of you,” Biles told Chiles once she came down from the platform floor.
Biles had everythinn riding on her floor routine. The difficulty ramped up with moves that only she can do. The two moves, both named the “Biles,” are a double-double and a gravity-defying double backflip with three twists. She did both on the floor. She would’ve nailed them both , except that she stepped out of bounds both times. (Those are minor deductions, due to the difficulty.) But her last two moves were spectacular, and Biles got a standing ovation from the audience. It also got the highest score of the night for a floor routine.
Simone Biles qualified for the Tokyo Olympic team. So did Suni Lee and Jordan Chiles. Mykayla Skimmer and Grace McCallum won spots in individual events. They’ve been named to Team USA — and Biles holds on to her number one spot.