Three-time World all-around champion Simone Biles will open her 2016 campaign at the Pacific Rim Championships this weekend at the XFINITY Arena in Everett, Wash.
U.S.A. Gymnastics announced Aly Raisman, Maggie Nichols, Brenna Dowell, Laurie Hernandez and Ashton Locklear will join Biles in competition.
Rasiman, Nichols and Dowell were members of the 2015 world championship squad as well. Not on the squad for the Pac Rim Championships is Olympic champion Gabby Douglas, who has already started her year with victories in Jesolo and at the American Cup.
Raisman, a member of the Fierce Five squad from the 2012 Olympics, finished in sixth place at the Jesolo Trophy Cup last month. Hernandez, who is just 15 years old, finished ahead of her in third place.
Simone Biles began her season with a new floor routine and a new second vault. But the result was entirely familiar. Once again, the world’s best gymnast ran away from the field.
Biles won the all-around at the Pacific Rim Championships on Saturday, helping the United States to a rout for the team title at XFINITY Arena in Everett, Wash., as well.
Biles led a U.S. sweep of the top five spots, scoring a 62.450 to finish 2.55 points ahead of teammate Aly Raisman (59.900) in second. American Laurie Hernandez (59.800) finished third, but because the all-around competition is limited to the top two per country Japan’s Nagi Kajita (55.200) took the bronze medal.
Brenna Dowell and Ragan Smith finished fourth and fifth, respectively, as the American finished with 243.2 points. Canada finished 24.1 points behind the United States with a score of 219.1, and Australia finished third with 217.85.
Ragan Smith - Interview - 2016 Pacific Rim Championships Team/AA Final
During Biles’s balance beam routine in the final rotation, the arena was silent. The floor routines were finished for the night, so there was no music, as there was for everyone else. Only occasional cheers punctuated the stillness, along with endless camera clicks following every moment. A particularly difficult skill earned cheers from the crowd and her excellent dismount drew roars, as well as hugs from all of her teammates.
Brenna Dowell finished the meet with the final routine, then medals were awarded. Biles earned gold with an overall score of 62.45, having pulled away steadily from silver medalist teammate Aly Raisman, second at 59.90.
Because only two gymnasts from one country can medal in the all-around, Japan’s Nagi Kajita picked up the bronze. Without that rule, the U.S. would have finished first, second, third (Laurie Hernandez), fourth (Brenna Dowell) and fifth (Ragan Smith).
Team USA easily took the team gold over Canada, 243.20 to 219.10. Australia, which competed in the afternoon session, picked up the team bronze.