The senior women put on a roller coaster of a meet on the first night of the 2019 U.S. Championships. There were historical moments, rough falls, and everything else in between. Not many people could have guessed which gymnasts would be sitting in the top five heading into the second day of competition. Here’s how it all went down.
Floor was the highlight of the first rotation. Simone Biles, Jordan Chiles, Trinity Thomas, and Mykayla Skinner all started their night on floor. Both Chiles and Skinner have a new confidence about them since the U.S. Classic. Their landings were much cleaner, and they both showed their choreography off great.
Skinner has had a lot of attention around her for competing elite right after the NCAA season, but let’s not forget that Trinity Thomas is doing the exact same thing. Thomas only competed bars and beam at Classics, which made her floor routine that much more exciting to watch. She opened with a Biles, and it’s safe to say, her double layout skills have not missed a beat since the NCAA season. It’s refreshing to see an elite’s personality shine through a floor routine.
The hype of the week was Simone Biles’ triple double on floor and somehow fans were able to see it right off the bat on Friday night. She did come up a bit short on it, but the rest of the routine was near perfect. Even with the fall, she still scored a 14.350 and won the event. With Biles’ competitive nature, I bet the gymnastics world will be seeing her throw it again on Sunday.
Another highlight of rotation one was Riley McCusker’s beautiful beam routine. Her triple wolf turn to double wolf turn gets better every meet and her lines never get old. She finished second on the event with a 14.500.
Coming off a few “off” routines, Morgan Hurd put together another solid bar routine. Her form was the cleanest it has been all season and her rhythm is faster than anyone else. Hurd’s Ricna to Pak is gorgeous every time, and she even covered up her dismount to make it look like a stick. She finished second on the event with a 14.400.
Jade Carey was an underdog of sorts at Friday’s meet. In the past, Carey has always been a standout on floor, and she has continued to be one this summer. Her double twisting double layout has a perfect open body position in the air. Some extra artistry to this routine could really bring Carey up to a whole different level.
Biles continued her power on vault in rotation two. Her Cheng was huge, and her landing got more distance in it than most gymnasts get on their entire vault. Biles’ second vault, her Amanar, was just as big. She took a small step forward and ended up with a 15.300 on the event.
Thomas and Biles both had good bar sets in the third rotation. If Biles has one not so great event, bars is usually the one. Her transitions have improved greatly over the past year and her piked Tkatchev is still as high as ever. She did have to fight extra for her dismount, but let’s not forget it is a double twisting double back.
Thomas started her routine with a slight hesitation into her Weiler, but that skill was an afterthought by the end of her routine. Her Shaposh-half has perfect form, and her stuck-cold double layout dismount was the icing on the cake. Thomas finished third on the event with a 14.200.
McCusker’s vault is usually not her best event but her double twisting Yurchenko was the cleanest I’ve ever seen her do. Her toe point, perfectly straight legs, and great landing gave her a 14.450.
The competition got very interesting during the final event. Going into rotation four these were the standings:
1. Simone Biles 43.700
2. Morgan Hurd 43.000
3. Jade Carey 42.800
4. Riley McCusker 42.200
5. Sunisa Lee 42.150
6. Jordan Chiles 42.050
7. Trinity Thomas 42.000
8. Leanne Wong 41.350
— MyKayla Skinner 41.350.
To start the final event off, Biles made history once again, this time on beam. She had some balance checks throughout her routine but the double twisting double back dismount lived up to all the hype. She didn’t just make it to her feet, Biles landed it with her chest up and a huge smile on her face, becoming the first gymnast to land a double-twisting double somersault. That was definitely the exclamation point on her day.
Both McCusker and Hurd fell on their final events. Hurd balked on her second pass on floor and then missed her double layout on her next pass. Both mistakes dropped her from second all-around to eighth. McCusker missed her blind change before her dismount at the end of her routine, but she was able to hold on to her fourth-place finish.
Sunisa Lee’s stunning bar routine in this rotation stole the show. Her layout Tkatchev to immediate Pak is beautiful, and the way she effortlessly moves through the entire routine is what makes her stand out. Lee, of course, won the event with a huge 14.750.
Biles stayed at the top, Lee moved up to second, and Carey snuck into third.
Next, these athletes will train again on Saturday for the final day of competition on Sunday. The results from Friday night’s competition will be added to Sunday’s to get everyone’s final scores.
Full results can be found here.