Marvin Kimble

Simone Biles, Sam Mikulak
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Three thoughts from U.S. Gymnastics Championships

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Three thoughts off a U.S. Gymnastics Championships that saw Simone Biles swiftly, powerfully, insert adverb reclaim the throne and Sam Mikulak match her national title for national title … 

1. An all-timer for Simone Biles
After Biles retires, which as of now will be at the Tokyo Games, this fifth national title may trail only the Olympics on her remember-when list of all-around performances.

Only once before has Biles been so dominant to win by an event-record margin with the highest scores on every apparatus.

At the 2015 American Cup, Biles nearly doubled the previous record margin, winning by 4.467 points in a one-day competition (Biles won nationals by 6.55 over two days). But this year’s nationals field was without a doubt stronger than the American Cup.

While Biles was challenged in the last quad — Katelyn Ohashi and Kyla Ross beat Biles in two of her first three senior competitions in 2013; Romanian Larisa Iordache made the 2014 World Championships interesting — there is nobody in the world who appears up to the task at the moment.

Biles’ worst all-around score of her three days of competition in her comeback (58.7 with an uneven bars fall) is still better than anybody else in the world since Rio.

At worlds, she should break Svetlana Khorkina‘s record with a fourth all-around title to extend a five-year win streak.

The only gymnast to have a longer run of major-event dominance is 18-time Olympic medalist Larisa Latynina, who won every Olympic, world and European all-around title from 1956 through 1962, save the 1959 Euros, which she appears to have sat out following childbirth.

GYM NATIONALS: Women’s, men’s results

2. The U.S. women are loaded
It’s so hard to predict far ahead in this sport. Promising gymnasts can turn senior elite at the beginning of an Olympic cycle and retire before the Games. There are no junior world championships (though that soon will change). So in 2016, as great as the Americans were, it wasn’t clear just how long they would stay at the top.

Halfway through this Olympic cycle, it appears the only changes are in the names who will stand with Biles on the gold-medal podium step at worlds in October.

Morgan Hurd and Riley McCusker counted zero falls between two days at nationals. One of them will likely join Biles on the all-around podium at worlds (an American always has). Jade Carey earned world silver medals on vault and floor exercise last year in her first year as an elite gymnast.

The teams at worlds are five women each, but the Americans have the luxury of using their fifth spot purely on a gymnast with the best chance at an apparatus medal.

The team will be named after an October selection camp.

MORE: Biles comments on statement-making leotard

3. The U.S. men must dig deep
Sam Mikulak 
and Yul Moldauer (when healthy) represent the best U.S. one-two all-around punch in several years, but the depth is not there right now. Mikulak is the only active man with Olympic experience.

Of the rest of the 2017 World Championships team, only Donnell Whittenburg competed at nationals. He was limited to two events after shoulder surgery and left off the eight finalists for the five-man world team.

When the Americans line up for team qualifying at worlds in Doha, Mikulak will be the only one who has been in that situation before. Moldauer and Marvin Kimble competed at 2017 Worlds where there was no team event.

Though Kimble missed nationals due to injury, he arguably became more valuable to the program last week, especially given the awful Thursday competition. He can contribute in a three-up, three-count team final on high bar (where the only man to crack 14 at nationals was Mikulak (14.7)) and two or three other events. His gym said Saturday that he was already back training.

The U.S. team will be named after a September selection camp. It will go to Doha as an underdog for a medal behind at least Japan, China and Russia.

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GYM NATIONALS: Where Are The Final Five?

Sam Mikulak (ankle) out of World Gymnastics Championships

Sam Mikulak
AP
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Olympian Sam Mikulak, the three-time reigning U.S. all-around champion, will miss the World Championships the last week of October in Glasgow, Scotland, due to an ankle injury.

Mikulak injured his left ankle training this past week and, although the prognosis is positive, he won’t recover in time for Worlds, according to USA Gymnastics.

Alternates Chris Brooks and Marvin Kimble will be on the team headed to Glasgow, bringing the U.S. traveling roster to seven. A maximum of six can compete at Worlds

The other five previously named Worlds team members are Donnell WhittenburgDanell LeyvaAlex NaddourBrandon Wynn and Paul Ruggeri III.

Mikulak finished fourth in the 2013 Worlds high bar final, fifth in the 2012 Olympic vault final and sixth in the 2013 Worlds all-around.

Mikulak joins Olympic teammates John Orozco and Jacob Dalton on the injured list. They finished 1-2-3 in the all-around at the 2014 P&G Championships and helped the U.S. to a bronze-medal team finish at the 2014 Worlds.

Orozco re-tore an Achilles in June and is out until 2016. Dalton withdrew before the P&G Championships with a small shoulder labrum tear.

Brooks, who competed at Worlds in 2010, is the U.S. champion on high bar and silver medalist on parallel bars.

Kimble, a 19-year-old who has never competed at Worlds, was fifth in the all-around at the P&G Championships and is strongest on pommel horse and still rings.

MORE GYMNASTICS: U.S. women’s team analysis