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P&G Champs Night One Recap Simone Biles Tops All Around

Nationals is off with a bang.  Quite literally.

A challenger to the throne. After the first night of competition at the P&G National Championships, Simone Biles has managed to overthrow Kyla for the top spot. Kyla Ross, who is favored to win it all, started off on floor exercise.

She looked beautiful until her last tumbling pass,a double pike, which she under-rotated and took a huge step forward and landed with her chest down. She fought to stay up, and she did not put her hands down like she did at Classics. On the up side, she's been working with Precision Choreography's Nicole Langevin on her artistry. She's not quite there yet, but she's making progress. If you watch closely, you can see her starting to connect with the music and the moment and it's beautiful. It's just a small head movement or a small look on her face, but she's really coming along. Floor score Kyla: 14.2, higher than her score at Classics, but not ask high as she can do. She managed to pull herself back up with her beautiful bar work and clean vault and beam and landed in second after night one.

With Kyla down for the count on the first rotation, that gave Madison Kocian of WOGA a chance to  show her stuff. Madison's first rotation on bars confirms yet again, that WOGA are the premier factory for producing good bar workers. Madison transitions to the high bar with a Maloney half and then a beautiful clear straddled stalder Shaposh half. Unlike the rest of the WOGA girls, Madison can freaking land a dismount (that's right Nastia Liukin, I went there!). She dismounts with a textbook full in and sticks it. Hello awesome.

Madison kept her lead until the third rotation, the floor. On a triple twist, she over rotated and twisted her ankle. Ick, and of course, NBC had the courtesy to re-play it. Talk about rubbing salt in a wound. Madison opted not to compete on the vault, don't know what the official word is, but she was walking around. But she seemed pretty shaken up. If she's okay, she's a definite challenge to anyone who could take first in the all-around. Madison is beautiful on beam, and although she looked a little slow on some of her connections, that could be chalked up to nerves. Once she got into the routine and felt it, she looked great, enough to show a little sass on her dance moves. She had a small issue of balance on a standing arabian and a backhand spring layout step out series, but she managed to cover up a little. She ended with an exclamation point and landing her double back with only a tiny hop.

Most improved has to go to MyKayla Skinner, who deserves some props even if NBC totally ignored her. She looks awesome on vault. She did the same vaults she did at the Classics, the Cheng and the DTY. Big hop back on the DTY and the Cheng was so powerful, it was ridiculous. I'd have to say she made the biggest strides on uneven bars and floor and her scores improved at least a full point on those events from Classics. This routine was a definite upgrade and it 's always a plus to see an athlete performing. MyKayla certainly performed her little heart out on floor. The new code encourages the performance aspect and it's nice to see people taking advantage of it. MyKayla threw the double double layout again, however, her legs were bent, so it looked like a double double tuck, which she also throws. She still needs work on her execution. Again, with the double double tuck vs laid out, she could lose credit for that awesome skill and if she did that at Worlds at the same time as Victoria Moors, Moors would have it named for her. The race is on, MyKayla!

Simone Biles ended her night at the top of the USA Gymnastics pyramid. After a not so great Classics, Simone is back and she is determined to show the world what she is made of. She is so awesome, it's just ridiculous, she does not have a bad event. She started on bars, which is not her best event, but even for a weak event, it was still great. She's like a mini-Jordyn Wieber in terms of her skills since she does Jordyn's Wieler kip combination on the lowbar, but she has much more natural swing than Jordyn and she does everything so fluidly. This makes me so happy. The USA is so weak on the uneven bars and to have someone like Simone, who can contribute a great routine on the bars. Her bars probably isn't going to win her an uneven bars medal against the likes of Aliya Mustafina or Viktoria Komova, but she has enough difficulty everywhere else, that she'd really just need to hit a clean routine for the all-around. Simone dismounted off of beam with a stuck full in back out. On floor exercise, she stuck her landings and her tumbling was so powerful. She had the highest floor score of the night at 15.05. On vault, she did the best Amanar I've seen since McKayla Maroney at the London Olympics, super high, super powerful. Simone just flies. She had a hop on the landing and scored a 15.8 and she did a beautiful Mustafina vault that scored a 15.2. Of course she counted the 15.8 towards her all-around score and no one could beat that.

McKayla Maroney did only vault and floor again. She said yesterday in an interview with Gymnastike that those were the two events she'd likely do at worlds should she make the team. On Vault, she did her Amanar again, which was not quite as perfect as she's done it before. Of course, NBC decided to once again share how much higher McKayla's Amanar was then Kohei Uchimura's Shewfelt (Men's gymnastics version of the Amanar, named for 2004 Olympic Gold medalist, Kyle Shewfelt). She pulled out the Cheng vault this time for her second vault and she averaged a 15.5 for vault for night one. On floor she almost went out of bounds on her double layout opening pass. She held on to that corner like she was super glued to it. She looked like she might sit down on her butt because she lifted her leg up while trying to stay in bounds and it looked like she might just fall backwards. She scored a 14.850 on floor.

Peyton Ernst, she's pretty fierce, but she looked like she had a good case of nerves. She fell off the balance beam on her back handspring layout step out series, which was unfortunate. Peyton did land a very lovely arabian. On floor exercise, she had a beautiful, spanish themed routine, with a double layout for her first pass and a full twisting double front to stag leap for her second. She unfortunately under-rotated her last pass and took a huge step forward on a double tuck.

Here are the standings for night one:

1. Simone Biles, 60.500
2. Kyla Ross, 59.750
3. Brenna Dowell, 58.450

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