Jeff Roberson
On the plane

Simone Biles qualifies for Olympics after easy victory in St Louis

The 24-year-old Biles will be the oldest American women’s gymnast at the Games since 2004.

SIMONE BILES PUNCHED her ticket to the Tokyo Games on Sunday, easily winning the US women’s all-around title at the US Olympic Gymnastics Trials in St. Louis.

Biles, who is likely competing domestically for the final time, won the all-around with 118.098 points to finish 2.66 ahead of Suni Lee, who finished with 115.832 points. Lee will be making her Olympic debut. They both earned automatic nominations for the Tokyo team.

Jordan Chiles and Grace McCallum, Jade Carey and MyKayla Skinner also have places on the US team.

The men and women each had two days of competition in St. Louis this week, with the women wrapping up the event on Sunday.

Biles entered Sunday’s second day with a solid three-point lead on the rest of the field.

Biles, one of hundreds of gymnasts abused by former USA Olympic team doctor Larry Nassar in the scandal which rocked US gymnastics, said it had taken her time to rediscover her love for the sport.

“Everything I’ve been through with USAG and finding the love for the sport again and just being Simone, it’s been a long journey to now,” she said.

“The crowd was very loud, very in tune, very supportive. These are the crowds we love because it helps guide us through each event, keep our spirits high, and keep the motivation going.”

Of the six US gymnasts, Biles will be the only one in Tokyo with previous Olympic experience. The women’s team is seeking their third straight gold medal at the Games and Biles will try to capture back-to-back all-around titles and a fifth consecutive by a US gymnast.

The 24-year-old Biles will be the oldest American women’s gymnast since 26-year-old Annia Hatch and Mohini Bhardwaj, 25, in the 2004 Olympics.

The event had to be moved from the sold-out Enterprise Center, home of the NHL’s St. Louis Blues, to the nearby Dome at America’s Center, the former home of the NFL’s St. Louis Rams, because of Covid-19 capacity limits.

© – AFP, 2021

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