Simone Biles stole the show in her usual style Saturday, March 7 at the AT&T Stadium. Many wondered if such a large arena would dwarf these tiny gymnasts, but with Biles it is a wonder that even a stadium that large can contain her power and charisma. Biles won the meet by 4.5 points, with her American teammate MyKayla Skinner coming in second. Winning by points used to be a crazy thing, but with Biles it has become the norm.
Biles began the meet with one of the most impressive Amanar vaults she has ever done in competition, flying sky high and basically sticking, scoring a whopping 16.033. MyKayla Skinner turned in a clean double twisting yurchenko to score a 15.1, a departure from her normal Cheng vault, which she had trouble with in podium training. Jessica Lopez of Venezuela came in right behind her with another double twisting yurchenko that scored a 15. After the first rotation, Biles was leading by almost a full point.
Heading into the second rotation, Biles added in some of her former difficulty on bars, which she has been working hard to bring back to her former level after last years shoulder issues. She competed these with ease, and scored a 15.2 on her “weakest” event. Lopez was just behind her, scoring a 14.933 for a beautifully done bar routine full of release moves. Bars are without a doubt Skinner’s weakest event, but she worked through them well, adding in new difficulty of her own and sticking the dismount for a 14.266. Biles increased her lead to just over a point, but Lopez edged out Skinner for second.
Beam is usually the rotation that shakes up the standings, but not so today. Biles approached her routine with a calm, collected attitude, and though she had a few small wobbles, she came through with a great routine, scoring a 15.066. Ellie Black of Canada came in with the second highest score on beam with a 14.266 followed closely by Natsumi Sasada of Japan with a 14.2. Lopez fell on her backhandspring layout, but had a beautiful routine otherwise for a 13.166. Skinner had a few big bobbles, including a near fall on her backhandspring full tuck combination. She scored a 13.533, and the standings remained the same coming into the final rotation.
Lopez had a pretty routine with great lines. Her lower difficulty left her with a 13.266. Erika Fasan of Italy came through with a 14.400 for a well done floor routine with a beautiful Memmel turn and solid tumbling to overtake Lopez not only in the floor scores, but for the bronze medal. Skinner made it through her incredibly difficult floor routine for a 14.933 and the silver medal. But it was Biles of course who brought the house down. Adding even more difficulty to an already insanely difficult routine, Biles was in the rafters in her tumbling, but it is her mega watt smile and personality that bring her routine to life. She scored a 16.0, the highest floor score since 2009 when code changes decreased the start values on floor.
Simone Biles truly is a special gymnast. With big gymnastics, a bigger personality and the biggest heart around, she is one of a kind. She had hoped to start 2015 off strong. Mission accomplished.