(Reuters) – Simone Biles delivered a stunning performance at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships in San Jose, California, on Friday to take the lead with 59.300 points and stay on course for a record eighth national title.
Biles’ impressive Yurchenko double pike, a vault so difficult that it has never been performed by another female gymnast, was the highlight of her night as she led Shilese Jones by 2.55 points overall.
The four-time Olympic champion posted the highest scores in three of the four apparatus – vault (15.700), floor (14.800) and beam (14.450). Her 14.350 on the uneven bars was third behind Jones (14.900) and Skye Blakeley (14.400).
Biles, 26, can become the first gymnast to win eight all-round U.S. titles and the oldest woman to win the championships if she can back up her dazzling display when the competition concludes on Sunday.
She made a triumphant return to competition earlier this month after two years away from the sport and thrilled a sold-out crowd at the U.S. Classic in suburban Chicago.
(Reporting by Hritika Sharma in Hyderabad; editing by Robert Birsel)