In her first competitive event since 2021, legendary gymnast Simone Biles made a triumphant return, claiming first place in front of a packed house at the Core Hydration Classic Saturday.
The gymnastics superstar scored a 14.0 on the uneven bars, a 14.8 on the balance beam, a 14.9 in the floor exercise and a remarkable 15.4 in the vault before a roaring crowd in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, just outside Chicago.
Overall, Biles finished in first place in the all-around, vault, floor routine and balance beam. She placed third on the uneven bars.
“It felt really good, especially after everything that’s happened over the past year,” Biles said in an interview with CNBC after the event, referencing her hiatus from the sport to prioritize her mental health.
“So, everyone that was cheering, made posters and all that in the crowd, it just made my heart melt that they still believe in me and I got back out here and I did what I was training so I’m very happy with the result.”
The seven-time Olympic medalist made her first appearance since pulling out of several events at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.
Asked about why she decided to return, Biles replied. “I always kind of knew as soon as everything that happened in Tokyo.
So, this time I’m doing it for me, I worked a lot on myself, and I believe in myself a little bit more, just coming back out here and starting the first steps again.”
Her scores put her ahead of competitors Jordan Chiles, Leanne Wong, and Katelyn Jong at the Core Hydration Classic, previously called the US Classic.
During her floor routine, Biles performed a double layout with a half-turn – a move named after her, to earn score of 14.9.
Biles then performed a Yurchenko double pike, considered the hardest women’s vault in the world, to earn an impressive score of 15.4.
She will need to perform the Yurchenko double pike in an international competition for it to be officially named after her.
Entering the final event, Biles needed a score of 10.350 to move into first place in the all-around competition.
She finished 5 points ahead of second place finisher Leanne Wong, with an all-around score of 59.1 and qualified for the US Championships in San Jose, California, later this month.
Competitors are scored on a combination of execution and difficulty, with total scores for each event typically falling in between 12 and 15.
Being cheered on by the crowd, Biles reacted with a fist bump and her signature smile after finishing the final event.
“It means the world because after everything that kind of transpired in Tokyo and it took a lot,” Biles said of the fan support.
“I worked on myself a lot, I still do therapy weekly and it’s just been so exciting to come out here and have the confidence I had before.”
Dawn Staley becomes highest paid Black female Basketball coach with $22.4M contractThe 26-year-old athlete withdrew from the women’s team final in Tokyo after suffering from what is known as the “twisties” – a mental block that causes gymnasts to lose track of their position in midair.
The 26-year-old athlete withdrew from the women’s team final in Tokyo after suffering from what is known as the “twisties” – a mental block that causes gymnasts to lose track of their position in midair.
Biles opted not to compete in four individual finals at the Tokyo Games, but she did return to compete in the balance beam, winning bronze after using a modified dismount in her routine.
The Core Hydration Classic was the final opportunity for athletes to qualify for the national championships.
The world gymnastics championships are then scheduled to take place between September 30 and October 8 in Antwerp, Belgium.
A sellout crowd on Saturday flocked to Hoffman Estates, where spectators were eager to not only see Biles’ much-anticipated comeback, but also the likes of returning Olympic gold medalist Sunisa Lee.
Biles is the most decorated gymnast in US history, winning 32 medals across the Olympics and the world championships.
Among her medal haul are four golds at the Olympics and 19 golds at the world championships – the most by any gymnast in history.