Biles caps 6th U.S. title with historic triple-double

Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles says USA Gymnastics repeatedly failed its "one job" of protecting athletes.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Simone Biles won her sixth all-around title at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships on Sunday, plus did a historic clean triple-double in floor exercise.

Biles, 22, did the triple-double in the preliminaries Friday in floor exercise, too, the first time a woman had ever completed the complex move of two flips with three twists in competition. But she put her hands down on the landing then, which frustrated her. She didn't do that Sunday and was so happy with the move that she retweeted video of it during the competition.

"I didn't want to be the last person to see it," Biles said of checking her phone for the video, "so I went online to see what it looked like, so that me and [coach Laurent Landi] could watch it. But I was very pleased that I actually landed it this time in competition."

Biles won the all-around title easily; her 118.500 was almost 5 full points ahead of second-place finisher Sunisa Lee at 113.550. Grace McCallum was third at 111.850. Biles has won 20 consecutive all-around titles dating back six years, including at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

Sunday, Biles also won the titles in the vault (30.850), balance beam (29.650) and, of course, floor exercise (29.450), which she especially has elevated to must-see TV whenever she's performing. And even in the event she calls her least favorite, uneven bars, she finished third (28.800).

Lee, a 16-year-old from Minnesota, won the bars with a score of 29.800 and was the only woman other than Biles to walk away with a gold medal from these championships. She acknowledged she watches all of Biles' routines with a sense of awe.

"She's so good, and I don't understand it," Lee said with a smile. "She's like, yeah, crazy good. She does stuff I never thought people could do."

AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

Simone Biles on drilling her historic clean triple-double in floor exercise on her way to a sixth U.S. women's gymnastics title: "I was very pleased that I actually landed it this time in competition."

Biles began her Sunday evening on beam, where on Friday she became the first to do a double-double dismount. She simplified her beam dismount a bit Sunday but still nailed the routine and was in a great mood from there. That was a contrast to Friday, when she did floor exercise first and -- despite the triple-double -- wasn't happy the rest of the night because she thought her floor routine wasn't good enough.

Sunday, the positive vibes from the beam carried her through, as did the Sprint Center crowd that cheered wildly at everything she did.

"I feel like you carry that momentum through the entire meet," Biles said of the opening rotation. "The other day, I was doing angry gymnastics, and I was just really upset. Then today, it was just like back to normal and happy."

Biles went from the floor exercise to vault. Then her final event was bars, and after finishing that routine, Biles smiled broadly and waved her arms.

"I was a lot happier today," she said, "because I feel like I haven't been as confident on bars this year as I was last year. To finally do a good routine like I can do it, I was very happy. And it was the last event, so I was like, 'Thank God we're done.'"

Done for now, yes, but there's another huge meet coming up Oct. 4-13 in Stuttgart, Germany: the world championships. The U.S. women are the defending champions; their gold in last year's world meet earned them their berth in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Biles won the all-around title in the 2018 world meet, along with golds on the floor exercise and vault, plus silver in the bars and bronze on the beam.

The top 10 finishers here at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships are named to the national team; they and select other invitees will take part in a training camp Sept. 5-8. Then the actual selection camp for the world meet will take place Sept. 25-27, and a team of five will be picked, plus one alternate. It will be very competitive to make that group of five.

We already know, though, that Biles will lead the United States' effort. She had moments here at nationals of great emotion, both joy and sadness. The latter came when she was talking to media before the meet started about the lingering effects of the Larry Nassar sexual-abuse scandal. She was brought to tears relating her frustration and disappointment with USA Gymnastics, which as an organization is going through bankruptcy court and trying to rebuild its reputation.

But once this competition started, Biles was laser-focused on doing her best. She said she puts other things out of her mind and just thinks about the gymnastics.

"I feel like you just kind of shut it out," Biles said. "Once I'm here, I'm here to do a job."

She did it extremely well, yet again. And with the Tokyo Olympics about a year away, Biles said she's on a very strong trajectory.

"Right now, I feel like it's a good peak," she said. "But we don't want to change too much going into next year. You kind of just want to stay consistent with your routines. If any upgrades come, you'll see."

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