FORT WORTH, Texas — Let’s get this out of the way first: Simone Biles leads the competition. By a lot.
That Biles, the reigning world and Olympic champion and owner of many records and even more medals, would be in first place after the first night of competition at the U.S. gymnastics championships was a given before Friday’s meet began. She’s going to Tokyo, where she’s going to win many medals, most, if not all, of them gold.
Spectacular as Biles is, however, even she can’t win the team title on her own. So the intrigue at nationals, and at the Olympic trials at the end of the month, is to see which three women will be going with her. With three nights of competition still left, it’s too early to buy anyone plane tickets.
But Jordan Chiles and Suni Lee are starting to separate themselves.
Jordan Chiles, right, is an early favorite to join Simone Biles on the U.S. Olympic for Tokyo. (Photo: Jamie Squire, Getty Images)
Lee, who was boosted by her father being at a meet for the first time since an accident two years ago left him partially paralyzed, finished second with a 57.35. Chiles, who has been enjoying a breakout season with a win at Winter Cup and second-place finish — first in the non-Biles division — at the U.S. Classic two weeks ago, was 0.45 behind Lee despite mistakes on balance beam and floor exercise.
As for other contenders, well, it’s a good thing Olympic spots aren’t being handed out just yet. Kayla DiCello, the 2019 U.S. junior champion, fell off both uneven bars and balance beam. Grace McCallum, a member of the 2019 world team, fell off bars and on floor exercise. MyKayla Skinner fell off beam and went out-of-bounds twice on floor.
Follow Nancy Armour on Twitter @nrarmour.
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