Simone Biles clinches record world gymnastics championships team spot in close all-around
Simone Biles clinched a spot on a record sixth world championships team and is set to become the oldest U.S. woman to compete at worlds in more than 50 years.
Biles, 26, won the all-around at a USA Gymnastics world team selection camp in Katy, Texas, to earn the first of six roster spots.
She tallied 55.7 points to prevail by four tenths over Shilese Jones, despite falling on her first routine (uneven bars) and last routine (Yurchenko double pike vault, falling backwards after completing it with too much momentum).
Biles also scored lower on balance beam and floor exercise than she did in winning her eighth U.S. all-around title last month.
MORE: Selection Camp Results
“Obviously a rough day,” Biles said Wednesday. “But it’s better now to get it out [than at worlds].”
Chellsie Memmel, a 2008 Olympian and USA Gymnastics women’s program official, said she hugged and congratulated Biles on making the world team afterward.
“I was like, ‘I know it wasn’t your best,’” Memmel said. "[Biles] was like, ‘Yeah I don’t know what happened.’ I was like, ‘Get it out here. It’s going to be OK. We’ll just turn the page.’ She’s not dumb. She knows exactly that it was not even close to her personal best, but it’s OK right now.”
Biles had all-around totals of 59.3 and 59.15 at August’s nationals, plus a 59.1 at an earlier August meet, her first since the Tokyo Olympics. Those are the world’s top three all-around scores since Tokyo, according to the Gymternet.
Jones, the 2022 World all-around silver medalist, had a chance to become the second gymnast in the last decade to outscore Biles in a one-day all-around after Suni Lee on the second day of the Tokyo Olympic Trials.
Jones would have won if she repeated either of her leading uneven bars scores from August’s nationals on her final routine, but she scored 13.5 on Tuesday after tallying 14.9 and 15 last month.
Memmel said Jones lost one point and missed a connection for her feet hitting the mat at the 24-second mark of this video.
The rest of the world team will be chosen by a committee and named after a second day of camp competition Wednesday night. One of the six will be designated an alternate closer to the start of worlds Oct. 1 in Antwerp, Belgium.
Biles, who last month became the oldest U.S. women’s all-around champion in modern history, is now the oldest to make a world team since at least 1970, according to USA Gymnastics records. Doris Fuchs Brause competed at the 1966 Worlds at age 28.
Biles, by competing in a sixth worlds, would break her tie for the most world championships appearances by an American.
She currently shares the record with Dominique Dawes, Shannon Miller, Kerri Strug, Jonathan Horton, Danell Leyva, Sam Mikulak, Alex Naddour, John Roethlisberger and Donnell Whittenburg.
Other gymnasts in contention for the world team include all five members of the 2022 World roster: Jones, Tokyo Olympic medalists Jade Carey and Jordan Chiles and Leanne Wong and Skye Blakely.