June 21, 2024
Simone Biles

Simone Biles performs on the uneven bars during the 2024 Core Hydration Classic at XL Center in Hartford, Connecticut. Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

Global superstar Simone Biles came out on top at the Core Hydration Classic on Saturday winning the all-around gold and marking the perfect start to her season before the 2024 Paris Olympic Games this summer.

Biles’ overall score of 59.500 was nearly two full points better than all-around silver medalist Shilese Jones and more than four points clear of bronze medalist Jordan Chiles.

She also took the gold medal on floor exercise, as well as silver medals in the uneven bars and balance beam.

Next on the road to the Paris Olympics for the 27-year-old Biles will be the US Championships in Fort Worth, Texas, beginning on May 30 followed by the US Olympic Trials starting June 27 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Three Olympic all-around champions featured in the field for the first time ever Saturday, with Gabby Douglas and Sunisa Lee – who collected Olympic golds in 2012 and 2021 respectively – also competing alongside Biles at the event in Hartford, Connecticut.

Lee won the beam title with a score of 14.600 while Douglas withdrew from the competition after falling twice on the uneven bars.

The last time the three women competed against each other eight years ago at the national championships, Simone Biles came out on top, Douglas finished fourth and Lee finished 10th in the juniors.

Simone Biles
Gabby Douglas is attempting to qualify for the Paris Olympics after eight years away from competition. Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Following Biles’s success at the Core Hydration Classic, the final opportunity for gymnasts to secure a spot along the qualifying road to Paris comes at the national championships in June, where the top performers will be selected for the Olympic Trials.

Three-time Olympic gold medalist Douglas, meanwhile, made just her second competitive appearance Saturday since the 2016 Rio Olympics, 10 months after announcing her return to the sport.

Douglas realized she missed competing while watching the US national championships in 2022, she told NBC News Now, and decided to resume training. “Now I can’t believe I’m in this sport again,” she added.

Douglas, who began the competition on uneven bars, scratched from the remainder of the event following the first rotation and posting a 10.100 after two falls, NBC Olympics reported.

Simone Biles
Sunisa Lee won the all-around Olympic gold medal at Tokyo 2020. Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Lee has also endured long stretches away from the gym since her Olympic triumph three years ago. Kidney disease threatened to derail her gymnastics career, but treatment allowed her to manage the condition and set her sights on Paris.

The example set by Biles has proved inspirational for Lee, she told Reuters last month, helping her to become a lot more open in talking about her mental health.

2022 US national champion Konnor McClain was injured during a warmup on the floor exercise before beginning the second rotation and was taken from the competition floor in a wheelchair, NBC Olympics reported.

Biles competed against 13 other medalists from the Olympics, World Championships and/or Pan American Games this weekend, including Tokyo Olympic floor champion Jade Carey and six-time world championship medalist Shilese Jones.

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