Two more gold-medal winning Olympic gymnasts have come forward to claim they were sexually abused by convicted pedophile Larry Nassar.
USA TODAY Sports
BOSTON — It’s as if she was never gone.
After missing last year’s national championships seeing what life was like outside the gym, Olympic champion Simone Biles reclaimed her title as the best U.S. gymnast Friday night. Yes, there’s still another round of competition Sunday, but it’s basically a formality. As long as Biles makes it to the arena, a fifth national title is hers.
Biles finished with 60.1 points, the highest score in the world the last two years. She was more than three points ahead of Morgan Hurd, who just happens to be the reigning world champion, mind you. In a sport where medals are often decided by tenths of a point, that’s bordering on the ridiculous.
Or, as her Final Five teammates used to joke, there’s a Simone Division and then there’s everyone else.
There was little question coming into nationals that Biles would dominate. She is the greatest gymnast the sport has ever seen. Beginning with nationals in 2013, she won every meet she entered for the next three years — often by wide margins. She was the first woman to win three consecutive all-around titles at the world championships, and she left the Rio Olympics with five medals, four of them gold.
But Biles took about 15 months off after Rio to do everything she’d missed during all those years of training. She took vacations and hung out with her friends. She enjoyed the benefits of being an Olympic champion, walking the red carpet at awards shows and hobnobbing with celebrities.
Other gymnasts who’ve returned after long breaks have started slowly, needing time to regain their old form. Even Biles made some uncharacteristic mistakes in winning last month’s U.S. Classic, her first competition since Rio.
But the jitters and the rust are a distant memory now. She’s right back to where she was in 2016 — and then some.
Biles posted the highest score on all four events. She landed her first vault, a Cheng, so solidly it was as if her feet were stuck in cement. On uneven bars, her “weakest” event, she no longer labors through her routine. She flowed smoothly from one skill into the next, and was already smiling when she landed her dismount.
Her only blemishes were going out of bounds twice on floor exercise and a slight bobble on her wolf turn.
But those are minor errors and, at the end of the night, they didn’t matter. Biles is simply better than everyone else.
Don’t anybody forget it.
Follow USA TODAY Sports columnist Nancy Armour on Twitter @nrarmour.