U.S. gymnastics trials: Simone Biles wins all-around, makes Olympics for third time

After disappointing and, at times, shocking results three years ago in Tokyo, Simone Biles, Suni Lee, Jordan Chiles and Jade Carey return to the Olympics with a single goal in mind.

“We’re here for redemption,” Chiles said after being named to her second consecutive Olympic team.

The Olympic veterans conquered the U.S. gymnastics trials on Sunday, making the U.S. roster for the Paris Games with rookie Hezly Rivera. The New Jersey native, who turned 16 less than four weeks ago, outdueled 18-year-old Joscelyn Roberson for the final spot. Roberson and Leanne Wong will travel with the team to Paris as alternates.

The team will try to win what would be a third U.S. gold medal in the last four Olympic Games. Its silver-medal result in Tokyo was the only blemish in a streak of success that also includes every world team championship since 2011. Tokyo is more commonly remembered as the time Biles withdrew from the team final.

The seven-time Olympic medalist pulled out of the event citing her mental health, sending the team into panic. She questioned whether she could ever do gymnastics again. Now 27 and returning for her third Olympics, Biles dominated the trials by finishing first in the all-around by more than five points over second-place Lee.

Biles has been almost unstoppable since returning to the sport in 2023. Each time she soars on another breathtaking Yurchenko double pike vault, she proves she’s not only back, but she’s better than ever.

However, she is not interested in fighting for vindication or to earn praise from others. For Biles and her teammates, they’re only seeking redemption.

“For us, I know we’re stronger than what we showed in Tokyo,” Biles said. “I think it has to be for us because it can’t be for anybody else because that can’t be why we do it. We do it for ourselves and the love for the sport and the love for representing the U.S. So we’re going to go out there and we’re going to do our best.”

Biles’ exit from the team finals in Tokyo left the United States scrambling for second place. It was the first time since 2008 that the U.S. hadn’t won team gold at the Olympics. Each gymnast still has individual missteps from those Games on their minds.

Chiles had a major form break on bars in team qualification and fell twice on beam. Although she stepped into the team final for Biles and hit all her routines, she was the only U.S. female gymnast to leave Tokyo without an individual medal.

Carey didn’t compete as part of the team, having only qualified as an event specialist. She took gold on floor, but the Oregon State star stumbled on vault by balking her first attempt and finishing last.

Lee, the reigning all-around champion, was a favorite for two individual gold medals, but settled for bronze on bars and fifth on beam when she had a significant wobble. Getting the top prize on beam was on her list of individual goals, but ensuring that the team brought home gold was the top priority.

“This time around, we’re so much more mature,” Lee said, “and more grown up to where we know what we can do and what we can’t do and also just making sure we’re taking our bodies and our mental health first.”

Lee’s health journey en route to her second Olympics has been daunting. The former Auburn star battled two kidney diseases that are in remission. While searching for the correct treatment, her weight fluctuated dramatically as her body would swell with water. Because of her health struggles, Lee was slow to ramp up for the Olympic process, not competing in all-around until the U.S. championships in early June. She admits she is still building trust in her gymnastics.

After a fall during her beam routine Sunday, Lee faced another mental challenge. She marched straight to the tunnel to collect herself for several minutes. She was not OK, she told teammates. They responded by helping her refocus. Lee rebounded with solid routines on floor and vault.

Biles has made mental health the calling card of her comeback, shouting out her weekly therapy appointments as the reason she returned to an elite level. Sitting in front of a packed news conference at trials, Biles said she never pictured going to another Olympics when she left Tokyo. She didn’t think she would ever twist again.

On Sunday, she launched a dizzying triple-twisting, double-flipping skill on floor in front of a sold-out Target Center crowd that gave her a standing ovation after her final pose. With a last successful routine in hand, Biles could finally exhale. She sat down at the top of the stairs on the floor podium and sighed.

“Oh my God,” she muttered.

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