Simone Biles reasserts herself as greatest gymnast ever with sixth U.S. national championship

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SportsPulse: Simone Biles is the greatest gymnast her sport has ever seen and over the weekend she further cemented herself alone at the top.
USA TODAY

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Another national title for Simone Biles? Been there, done that.

But a move on floor exercise so difficult no other woman has done it and very few men even try it? Now that made it a night to remember.

Biles landed her triple twisting-double somersault Sunday, getting so much height on the move the folks in the first half-dozen rows had to crane their necks to see her. An NBC replay showed she was actually above its boom camera, which means someone could have parked an SUV on the floor and Biles would have cleared it easily.

Take that, NBA Dunk Contest participants.

And unlike Friday night, when she had too much adrenaline and pitched forward, needing to put her hand down to avoid landing on her head, she landed perfectly upright. The back of one of her heels was close to the out-of-bounds line, but she lifted it with such catlike quickness and no flag was raised.

Biles was beaming when she landed. Rightfully so.

“I was so relieved,” she said of the triple double. “Today I was very, very pleased.”

When she came back to gymnastics after taking a year off following the Rio Olympics, it wasn’t because she wanted more medals or had anything left to prove. She’s won every meet she’s entered dating back to the 2013 nationals — and often by large margins — and her sixth U.S. title tied a record that has stood since 1952.

She won five medals in Rio, four of them gold, and has more world titles than any other gymnast, male or female.

No, Biles wanted to challenge herself, to see how much she could wring out of her otherworldly talent. In doing so, she is pushing the boundaries of the sport beyond where anyone could ever imagined.

In this meet alone, she’s done two skills that no one else has ever tried. The triple-double on floor exercise gave her a score of 15.1 — a rarity on events besides vault for the women. She also did a double twisting, double somersault dismount on balance beam Friday night.

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