Simone Biles won a closer-than-expected all-around at the U.S. selection camp for the world championships, clinching a spot on her fifth straight world team next month in Stuttgart, Germany.
Biles, undefeated in official all-around competition for six years, will tie Kerri Strug as the only U.S. women to compete at worlds in five different years. It could be Biles’ last worlds, as whether she continues beyond the Tokyo Olympics is unknown.
Biles tallied 58.55 points to prevail by .35 over Sunisa Lee. Biles had the top score on floor exercise and vault among 15 gymnasts competing at Evo Athletics in Sarasota, Fla. Her major visible error was falling on her uneven bars dismount. She opened on floor with the triple-double tumbling pass, which she debuted at the national championships in August.
Biles claimed the lone automatic world team spot by winning the all-around. The rest will be chosen via committee. Five more women will be named to the world championships team after another day of non-all-around competition on Monday. One will later be designated alternate.
MyKayla Skinner The 2016 Olympic alternate pulled off the rare feat of making a world team while being an NCAA gymnast (at Utah). Skinner returned to elite gymnastics this season for the first time since Rio and impressed Sunday, placing fourth in the all-around. Like Carey, she specializes on floor and vault.
Whoever the U.S. sends will be favored to extend a streak of six straight Olympic or world team titles dating to 2011, the longest reign by one nation since the Soviets in the 1970s.
The other four members of the 2018 team were invited to the selection camp: 2017 World all-around champion Morgan Hurd, Riley McCusker, Grace McCallum and Kara Eaker.
As was Lee, the distant runner-up to Biles at nationals in August, who eyes her first worlds. McCusker withdrew Saturday due to injury.
Simone Biles is joined on the U.S. team for the world gymnastics championships by five women bidding to make their first Olympic team next year.
Sunisa Lee, Kara Eaker, Jade Carey, Grace McCallum and MyKayla Skinner were named to the team at the conclusion of selection camp competition Monday in Sarasota, Fla. Biles locked up the first spot by winning an all-around competition on Sunday.
A notable omission was Morgan Hurd, the 2017 World all-around champion in Biles’ absence who was fourth in the all-around at the U.S. Championships in August and ninth at the selection camp on Sunday. Hurd, who came back from December elbow surgery, was named a non-traveling alternate along with Leanne Wong.
Had Hurd made the team, she could have bid to join Biles as the only women to earn all-around medals at three straight world championships. Instead, her absence is a testament to the U.S. women’s depth.
Sunisa Lee The revelation of this summer. Lee went from third in the junior division at last year’s nationals to second to Biles both at nationals in August and in Sunday’s selection competition. At the latter, Lee was only .35 of a point behind Biles, closer than any of Biles’ last five margins of victory at nationals. She is the national champion on uneven bars and the youngest woman on the team at 16.
Kara Eaker Eaker solidified her spot by placing third at the selection camp with a score that would have been runner-up to Biles on either day at nationals. Eaker was 10th at nationals with scores more than two points lower than what she did on Sunday. She is a medal contender on balance beam. Eaker had the second-highest beam score in qualifying at worlds last year but fell off the apparatus in the final, placing sixth.
Jade Carey The 2017 World silver medalist on floor and vault. Carey decided last year to try to make the Olympic team on her own individually — a new wrinkle in Olympic qualifying this cycle — which precluded her from competing at the 2018 Worlds. She’s well on her way to clinching an Olympic spot before June’s trials, but first she will be an asset to this team as its second-ranked floor and vault gymnast behind Biles.
The U.S. women, who arrived yesterday, trained earlier today. During the two-hour session, Simone Biles, Grace McCallum, Kara Eaker, Jade Carey, MyKayla Skinner and Sunisa Lee took the opportunity to get the feel for the equipment in Stuttgart and performed mostly sequences and parts. No full routines from the Americans this morning.
Despite any possible jet lag, the defending World and Olympic champions still looked sharp and will be the heavy favourites to win their fifth-straight World team title next week.
The floor is a hive of activity as the athletes have arrived for their workout and are warming up en masse. We're expecting USA to start on the beam shortly, before moving to the floor, then vault and uneven bars.
Each of the U.S. women ran through their full beam routines with mixed results. MyKayla Skinner nailed her back handspring to back full series but had a silly error on a leap later on. Suni Lee was solid on her two back handspring to layout series but missed her aerial to two back layouts. Biles had a small check on her on switch half but was otherwise clean. Kara Eaker had beautiful routine going but sat down her dismount.
The four-time Olympic champion showed the double-double dismount off beam tonight. The skill, which she first performed at August's U.S. Championships, would be named the 'Biles' - her third named element in the Code of Points - if she successfully competes it this week it in Stuttgart.