The last time a gymnast swept the all-around and event titles was when Dominique Dawes did it in 1994. That is until Simone Biles did it on Sunday.
BOSTON — The last time a gymnast swept the all-around and event titles was when Dominique Dawes did it in 1994.
Simone Biles wasn’t born yet.
The 21-year-old picked up right where she left off after the first night of competition and more than doubled her lead in the all-around competition. Biles posted a 119.850—6.55 points ahead of reigning world champion Morgan Hurd. It is the largest margin of victory at a national championships for Biles, breaking her previous high of 4.95 from 2014. She earned event titles ranging from a slim, one-tenth margin to several points.
While Biles has national, world or Olympic medals in the all-around and on balance beam, floor exercise and vault, she did not have one on uneven bars. That is, until now.
Her routine on the second night of competition wasn’t quite as good as night one. There was a transition that was just a little bit off and a hop on her double twisting double tuck dismount in the opening rotation. But when all was said and done, it was enough to edge U.S. Classic runner-up Riley McCusker.
But even Biles wasn’t expecting to be quite this successful.
"I didn’t think that coming into the events this year that I would do as well as I did,” Biles said. “I knew I was capable of it, but I kind of thought I would be a nervous wreck and fall apart. Going into these meets, I was telling my family that I didn’t know if I was going to be able to calm myself down the way I did before but so far, so good.”
Hurd took second place with a two-day total of 113.300. She closed the competition on floor exercise with a fierce performance and earned a 13.850 for the second night. The 17-year-old finished sixth at last year’s championships before earning the world title in Montreal.
McCusker picked up bronze with a 112.750. She had a much-improved second day of competition and scored more than a point and a half higher than her first day’s performances. The 17-year-old struggled with injuries throughout the 2017 season and missed the world championship last year. After a strong performance in Boston, she’s making a case for herself to head to Doha in October.
“I feel like day one was just shaking off some nerves and getting into it,” McCusker said on Sunday. “Coming in tonight I wasn’t really as nervous as I was day one and I was just ready to go.”
Ragan Smith, who is the only gymnast aside from Biles to win the national all-around title since 2013, fought through an ankle injury en route to a 10th place finish. Smith has battled the ankle injury since it forced her out of the all-around final at the world championships last fall. The 2017 national champion had a two-day total of 107.200 after putting her hand down on her triple full in the first rotation and a fall on uneven bars.
Grace McCallum, Shilese Jones, Jade Carey, Kara Eaker and Trinity Thomas joined Biles, Hurd and McCusker on the U.S. national team.
Before the senior women’s competition, USA Gymnastics president Kerry Perry met with the media. It was the first time since taking over the organization in December that Perry was answering questions. Earlier in the week, Biles criticized Perry for her lack of communication. When asked on Sunday, Perry seemed to dodge the question entirely.
“I respect her opinion, and know that as an organization, the kinds of changes that we’re making can be a little scary, can be a little daunting,” Perry said. “I want her and all of our athletes to know we have their best interests at heart.”
Perry added that she had interacted with Biles and her parents several times. Biles recalled only one instance.
“She really hasn’t interacted with my family too much,” she said. “I know we had an interaction earlier in January but it was kind of ‘Hey, I’m the president of USAG’ and just kind of passing through. That was it.”
Chellsie Memmel, who was in Boston as both a judge and a member of the 2008 Olympic team that was honored, helped select Perry late last year. She expressed her own disappointment.
“I want more,” Memmel said. “Going into it, our expectation was [that she] was going to be the face of USA Gymnastics and the positive change and the positive force. So to me that’s been a little bit disappointing and I’d like to see more.”