Simone Biles makes smashing return to gymnastics competition at U.S. Classic

Simone Biles and her ever-expanding array of signature skills sure look ready for the Tokyo Olympics.

The reigning world and Olympic champion returned to competition for the first time in more than 18 months by cruising to victory at the U.S. Classic in Indianapolis on Saturday night.

The 24-year-old continued her quest to push the boundaries of what’s possible by a female gymnast in the process.

Biles’ all-around score of 58.400 — easily the best of the night in a crowded field of seniors trying to join Biles on the U.S. Olympic team this summer — was almost beside the point.

The Yurchenko double pike vault has historically only been done by men. Not anymore. Biles sprinted down the runway, did a roundoff onto the springboard followed by a back handspring onto the vault, finishing with two backflips with her legs ramrod straight and her hands seemingly magnetized to her hamstrings. Biles had so much momentum when she landed that she hopped back a step or two.

No matter. Her score of 16.100 was higher than either of her gold medal-winning vaults at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. And that was with the judges dinging her for the extra steps.

The rest of her night was steady, if not spectacular. She sailed off the uneven bars on her final event on an element that she has struggled with in practice. The miscue was merely a speedbump on a night when she showcased what separates her from every other gymnast in the sport’s long history.

Wearing a white leotard with a rhinestone goat — a nod to her status as the Greatest of All-Time — on the back, Biles posted the highest scores of the night on balance beam, floor exercise and vault.

So much for being rusty after the COVID-19 pandemic pushed the Olympics back a year.

The miscue on bars will give Biles something to focus on before the national championships in Fort Worth, Texas, next month.