US Woman Sweep Pacific Rim Champsionships
US Woman sweeped the Pacific Rim Championships dominating all around, and team finals.
The 19-year-old Biles, the three-time world all-around champion, finished first in the vault, balance beam and floor routine, and third in the uneven bars to win the all-around title with 62.45 points in her season debut. Aly Raisman, a three-time medalist at the 2012 Olympics who struggled last year in the world championships, finished second at 59.90.
Biles was pleased with the floor routine, which drew a tremendous response from the crowd.
The vault, which Biles said she has performed well in practice, requires her to do a round off onto the board, followed by a back handspring with a half-twist onto the vault before finishing with 1 1/2 twists while simultaneously doing a layout.
“I felt like it was pretty good,” Biles said. “I’ll go back and look at the video to see, but there’s still things to improve in the floor routine definitely, but you have to start somewhere and it’s good that I still have things to improve.”
She also was satisfied with her second vault, called the Cheng after three-time world champion Cheng Fei of China.
“That was the first time I ever competed it, so it was good to get that out of the way,” Biles said. “For the first time competing it, I’m fairly happy with it.”
National team coordinator Martha Karolyi was pleased with Biles’ efforts, as well as those of the entire team.
“For her, it was very important to see if she’s able to perform her second vault,” Karolyi said. “That was really one of our goals, even before the World Championships. We planned on this and it was important to debut and do it.
“For anybody, it is a challenge to add a high difficulty new skill,” Karolyi added. “Also, she had new choreography on the floor. All these competitions are very important for us to make sure we introduce this new stuff early, so with time it comes with much more confidence and is more normal. The first time you maybe have a little jitters to make sure you will be able to perform, but she passed the test.”
The U.S. swept the top five spots. Fifteen-year-old Laurie Hernandez was third, followed by Brenna Dowell and Ragan Smith.
The U.S. won all four events en route to a team score of 243.200. Canada was second at 219.100, followed by Australia at 217.850.
“After the world championships, she looked too hyper and a little bit out of control, which was unusual for her,” Karolyi said. “Our main goal was to calm her down and I think we achieved the goal. She looked very composed and very much in control of what she’s doing.”
“Now, we have to go for things to perfect and we are in a good place,” Karolyi said. “I think she’s absolutely on the right track.”
“The team showed great consistency,” she said. The Americans had no falls throughout the evening, she pointed out, and “that’s the No. 1 goal. So that was very good.
“We also saw areas where we need to do some more refinements,” she said. “Because it’s never completely perfect, and our goal is to get as close as possible to perfection. So we know what we need to work on, but the girls competed confidently and handled it well and showed very good composure.”