Simone Biles wins seventh U.S. title, more than any woman in history

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In a career oozing with historic achievements, Simone Biles once again raised the bar when she won the women’s all-around with 119.65 points as the U.S. Gymnastics Championships concluded on Sunday in Fort Worth, Texas.

Now with seven U.S. titles – one from every senior nationals she has ever entered dating back to 2013 – Biles has more than any other woman in history. She was previously tied for six with Clara Schroth Lomady, whose were won between 1945 and 1952 when the AAU was the sport’s national governing body. Biles is now tied with Alfred Jochim (1925-1930; 1933) for most by any American.

The 24-year-old Biles has won every all-around competition she’s entered since the 2013 U.S. Championships.

“It’s really emotional, especially going into my second time doing an Olympic run,” Biles told NBC’s Andrea Joyce on NBCSN. “It’s really crazy.”

As she continues to gradually build up to the eventual defense of her Olympic all-around title, Biles has not been performing all of her most difficult skills, but has dominated nonetheless.

On both days of competition this week, she left out the double-double balance beam dismount named after her and the Yurchenko double pike vault she was the first woman to perform when she debuted it at U.S. Classic two weeks ago.

“We’re definitely going to do it at Trials,” she told media of the vault. “I didn’t do it at this competition because on Wednesday I jammed my ankles and they didn’t feel too good, so we just made a decision to not do it and not rush it so that I wouldn’t be too, too nervous.”

Biles had the highest combined scores on beam, floor exercise and vault; this is the fourth time she has won three or more event titles at nationals.

“I feel like every single championship stands out for a different reason, but this one stands out specifically because it’s the road to Tokyo,” Biles said.

Her floor routine, which includes two eponymous skills, is so far ahead of the rest of the field that Biles went out of bounds four times between both routines and still won that title by 1.5 points. She showed improvements on Sunday though, only going out of bounds once and scoring 0.3 more than Friday. Her all-around score was also 0.55 points higher on day 2.

Trailing Biles by 4.7 points was Suni Lee, runner-up in 2019 as well, with a 114.95 total, followed closely by Jordan Chiles‘ 114.45 points. Biles has won five of her national titles by a margin greater than four points.

Lee competed all-around for the first time since the 2019 World Championships, where she won silver on floor and bronze on uneven bars. She missed two months of training in 2020 when she broke a bone in her left foot, then another two months for left Achilles problems. The 18-year-old won her second national title on bars this week.

“I think this is a really good confidence booster because I wasn’t even at my full potential on floor, and obviously my vault could have been a little better and today my bars was a little rough,” Lee said. “It definitely helps my confidence because I know I don’t have to be 100 percent to be in the top with Simone, so I’m really proud of myself.”

Chiles, 20, is having a breakout year after placing sixth at the last nationals in 2019. A close friend and training mate of Biles’ at World Champions Centre in Spring, Texas, she won the Winter Cup in February and was second to Biles at last month’s U.S. Classic.

She said everything changed for her after moving from her hometown of Vancouver, Washington, to Texas in 2019 to train at Biles’ gym under coaches Cecile and Laurent Landi.

“When I moved to WCC, I had the worst lack of confidence in my whole gymnastics career, and I think just having the proper coaching and the proper teammates that can support you through everything definitely helps throughout your whole gymnastics and even in your life in general,” Chiles shared. “I honestly can’t thank Cecile and Laurent enough because they honestly are like the dopest people I’ve ever met in my life, and it’s crazy to see how I was in the past to now; I definitely can say my confidence is way better than it was back in the day.”

Biles has mentored and encouraged Chiles along the way.

“[After the meet] I told her that she had done it and she belongs here, and that we’re going to go to [Olympic] Trials and do the exact same thing because this is what we trained for,” Biles said. “I’m happy she got to go out there and show the world what she’s capable of because she deserves it.”

Olympic Trials will take place in less than three weeks — June 24-27 in St. Louis, Missouri — after which four athletes will be chosen to compete in the team event in Tokyo with a fifth athlete competing solely as an individual.

“The gymnast does not have to be an all-arounder,” high-performance team coordinator Tom Forster said of the additional, individual athlete. “Our goal is to provide our athletes with the most opportunities to win medals for themselves and for Team USA. We believe that we’re going to have our strongest all-arounders on the team. … Whoever is really stepping up and showing the best potential for winning a medal or medals will earn that [individual] spot.”

While Biles, Lee and Chiles are all favorites to make the Olympic team — especially with the top two finishers at Trials automatically qualifying — the battle for the fourth team spot is tight.

In Fort Worth, fourth through ninth place were separated by less than a point.

Emma Malabuyo finished fourth with 110.45 points — an impressive result for the 2017 U.S. junior silver medalist after her senior career had so far been marred by injuries; Malabuyo was seventh after Friday night’s competition.

“Clearly Emma Malabuyo was super impressive,” Forster noted. “She came out of a very, very low position at the U.S. Classic, and it’s great to see her back in her international form that she was in a couple years ago since she’s wrestled with a couple injuries here and there. … There were a couple of surprises today but I’d say she was the best surprise that we weren’t expecting.”

Leanne Wong (110.15), Jade Carey (110), Skye Blakely (109.55) and Grace McCallum (109.55) complete the top eight, all of whom automatically qualified to Olympic Trials. 2016 Olympic alternate MyKayla Skinner is also squarely in that mix, placing ninth with 109.5 points, just 0.95 from fourth after all eight routines.

Carey is the only American gymnast who has already secured a spot in Tokyo, which she did so by earning the maximum number of points on floor throughout the 2019-20 World Cup series. If she automatically qualifies for the four-person Olympic team at Trials (and chooses to accept that team spot), the U.S. will lose her individual spot and send one less gymnast to Tokyo.

It was announced after the competition that Skinner, Kara EakerKayla DiCelloShilese JonesEmily LeeAmari DraytonAva SiegfeldtAddison FattaZoe Miller and Riley McCusker were also invited to compete in St. Louis. Additional athletes can petition to Trials, a process that is still ongoing.

Among those who might petition are 2016 Olympic gold and silver medalist Laurie Hernandez, 2017 World all-around champion Morgan Hurd and 2005 World all-around champion Chellsie Memmel.

Hernandez, who returned to competition in February for the first time since the Rio Olympics, hyperextended her knee during beam warm-ups on Friday and scratched from the remainder of that session after performing her beam routine in the first rotation. At the time she was hopeful for a return on day 2, but eventually withdrew from the meet altogether.

Hurd has had a rough time competing this spring since having her fifth and sixth elbow surgeries in March. She performed only beam and floor at both U.S. Classic and nationals, placing 26th and 23rd on the two, respectively, this week.

Memmel, a 2008 Olympian, competed for the first time in nine years at the U.S. Classic. Now a 32-year-old mother of two, she returned to training gymnastics purely for her love of the sport and was eventually convinced to make a competitive comeback, which has inspired many. Memmel had the fifth-highest single vault score on day 1 and was 13th overall on beam. She fell on her Arabian on beam on day 2, and also fell off bars both days — an event she won the world title on 18 years ago. After falling twice on bars on Sunday she chose not to finish the routine.

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Summer McIntosh, Canadian teen swimmer, caps record year with another historic time

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Summer McIntosh swam the fourth-fastest 400m individual medley in history on Friday, capping a year that already included world titles, Commonwealth Games titles and a victory over Katie Ledecky.

McIntosh, a 16-year-old Canadian whose mom swam at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, won the 400m IM in 4 minutes, 28.61 seconds at the U.S. Open in Greensboro, N.C. She prevailed by a Ledecky-like 13.24 seconds, breaking her own national record that was previously the fourth-fastest time in history.

“It’s still pretty early in the season, so I didn’t really know what to expect going into it,” she said on Peacock.

The only two women who ever went faster in the event known as the decathlon of swimming are Olympic gold medalists: Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu (world record 4:26.36 and 4:28.58) and China’s Ye Shiwen (4:28.43).

McIntosh has come a long way in a short time. Three years ago, she put all her eggs in the 1500m freestyle basket, thinking it was her best shot to merely qualify for the Tokyo Games in 2020. The one-year Olympic postponement was a blessing.

The rapidly improving McIntosh swam three individual events in Tokyo with a top finish of fourth in the 400m free, just missing becoming the youngest swimming medalist since 1996. She then told her coach she wanted to become an IMer.

At this past June’s world championships, McIntosh won two of the most grueling events — 400m IM and 200m butterfly — to become the youngest individual world champion since 2011. She also took silver to Ledecky in the 400m free, an event in which she later beat Ledecky in a short-course meet (25-meter pool rather than the 50-meter pool used for the Olympics).

A month after worlds, McIntosh swept the IMs at the Commonwealth Games, where she broke more world junior records and again took second in the 400m free (this time to Olympic champ and world record holder Ariarne Titmus of Australia).

McIntosh, who turned professional last year, now trains full-time in Sarasota, Florida, where she rents a house with her mom, Jill Horstead, who was ninth in the 200m fly at the 1984 Olympics (McIntosh, whose passions include the Kardashians and plants from Target, has seen video of her mom winning the B final at those Games). They’re a three-hour drive down Interstate 75 from Ledecky’s base in Gainesville.

Also Friday, Erin Gemmell celebrated her 18th birthday by nearly becoming the first American to beat Ledecky in a 200m freestyle in nearly nine years. Ledecky won by 42 hundredths of a second in 1:56.74 and said she had an off-day while also praising Gemmell, the daughter of her former coach.

NBC airs U.S. Open highlights on Dec. 10 at 4:30 p.m. ET.

U.S. OPEN SWIMMING: Full Results

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Kaillie Humphries begins trek to 2026 Winter Olympics with monobob World Cup win

Kaillie Humphries
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Kaillie Humphries is off to a strong start to a four-year cycle that she hopes ends with her breaking the record as the oldest female Olympic bobsledder.

Humphries, the women’s record holder with three Olympic bobsled titles, earned her first World Cup victory since February’s Winter Games, taking a monobob in Park City, Utah, on Friday.

Humphries, the first Olympic monobob champion, prevailed by .31 of a second over German Lisa Buckwitz combining times from two runs at the 2002 Olympic track.

Humphries has said since February’s Olympics that she planned to take time off in this four-year cycle to start a family, then return in time for the 2026 Milano-Cortina Winter Games. Humphries, who can become the first female Olympic bobsledder in her 40s, shared her experiences with IVF in the offseason on her social media.

“We’ve pushed pause so that I could go and compete this season, maintain my world ranking to be able to still work towards my 2026 goals, and we’ll go back in March to do the implantation of the embryos that we did retrieve,” she said, according to TeamUSA.org.

The next Games come 20 years after her first Olympic experience in Italy, which was a sad one. Humphries, then a bobsled push athlete, was part of the Canadian delegation at the 2006 Torino Games, marched at the Opening Ceremony and had her parents flown in to cheer her on.

But four days before the competition, Humphries learned she was not chosen for either of the two Canadian push athlete spots. She vowed on the flight home to put her future Olympic destiny in her own hands by becoming a driver.

She has since become the greatest female driver in history — Olympic golds in 2010, 2014 and 2022, plus five world championships.

Her longtime rival, five-time Olympic medalist Elana Meyers Taylor, plans to return to competition from her second childbirth later in this Olympic cycle and can also break the record of oldest female Olympic bobsledder.

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