P&G Championship Day One: Simone Biles dominates as she chases history

Simone Biles leads after one day of competition at the P&G U.S. Gymnastics Championships with a total score of 62.900. In pursuit of Biles is three-time Olympic medalist Aly Raisman with a total score of 60.450. Not far behind in third is Laurie Hernandez, making senior debut in St. Louis.

Biles dazzles on day one, looks set for fourth straight all-around title

The four-time world all-around champion was near perfect Friday night: Balance beam: ultra-solid and a score of 15.700. Floor: Wow-worthy from start to finish for a score of 16.100. Vault: Easily the best in the field to get 16.000 points. Uneven bars: No sign of struggle on her weakest event for 15.100. Added together, her 62.900 all-around score is just shy of the 63.000 she earned on day two of the 2015 P&G Championships. As has been the case since she won her first national title in 2013, Biles is competing more against her own brilliance than any other gymnast in the field.

Biles was nearly perfect in dominating the field in St. Louis/Photo Source: Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
Biles was nearly perfect in dominating the field in St. Louis/Photo Source: Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

Raisman, Hernandez lead pack of contenders

Raisman had a superlative night of her own, starting with a balance beam discount that might have been her best ever on that apparatus. After winning the Secret U.S. Classic in Hartford three weeks ago (where Biles was competing on only two events, taking her out of the all-around), Raisman looked more confident than ever. With three medals from London already on her resume, Raisman looked ready for more in Rio. Right alongside her, literally tied with Raisman in the rankings, is first-year senior Laurie Hernandez. She turned 16 years old just two weeks ago, but showed an ageless poise on balance beam and then her sassy side on floor exercise. In fourth place was regining Olympic all-around champion Gabby Douglas. She handily won her first two competitions of 2016, but this was the first night this year that Douglas faced off against Biles on all four events. Douglas didn't measure up, her total score at 58.900.

Biles continues to outpace the competition

Biles soon emerged as a force to be reckoned with at the senior elite level, bursting into the spotlight as the all-around winner at the 2013 U.S. P&G Championships. Also that year, she delivered a historic showing at the World Championships by becoming the first female African-American athlete to win gold in the all-around. She spoke about pacing herself for the big moments: "It's all about peaking for the right moment," Biles said. "I think this is a stepping stone toward it." Even Raisman conceded the 19-year old won't be stopped in her quest for history: "There's no one that can catch Simone," said Raisman after her best night since her return to competition in March, 2015.