And she got a standing ovation, too.
Simone Biles is back, baby. On Sunday, the iconic gymnast topped the podium at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships for the eighth time, not only marking her dominant return to the sport following a two-year mental health break, but also breaking records as she became the oldest woman to ever win the title at 26 years old.
After taking home the all-around title for the first time back in 2013 (at just 16 years old), Biles famously went on to become the most decorated U.S. gymnast in World Championships history. Now, 10 years later, Simone returned to the competition to clinch her eighth title in San Jose, Calif. over the weekend, beating the previous record of seven wins set by Alfred Joachim in 1933.
“It feels really special,” Biles told NBC after her victory. “I’ve been doing it for so long, I feel like I don’t think about numbers, I think about my performance. And I think, overall, I hit eight for eight. I guess it’s a lucky number this year.”
Biles continued, “It’s really amazing. Everybody in here believes in me, so I just need to start believing in myself a little bit more, but it feels amazing and I love the fans, I love the crowd. It was really special.”
The gymnast walked away with an all-around total score of 118.40, followed by Shilese Jones with 114.550 and Leanne Wong with 111.100.
Simone’s U.S. Championships win comes two weeks after her victory in the U.S. Classic and over two years after she opted to take a break from the sport following her appearance at the Tokyo Summer Olympics in 2021. While Biles is expected to compete at the world championships in Belgium next month, she’s yet to confirm whether she will compete in the Paris Olympics in 2024.
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