Whenever Simone Biles competes, it's all but certain she will win the all-around title. Her dominance is so complete that fans view her as a separate entity, with everyone else in the field considered "the non-Simone division."
The four-time Olympic gold medalist continued to stand apart Sunday, capping the U.S. gymnastics championships with a historic seventh all-around title. St. Paul's Suni Lee topped the non-Simone division, earning her second consecutive silver medal in the all-around. Lee also defended her national title on uneven bars, becoming the only woman other than Biles to win a gold medal at Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, Texas.
Biles ran away with the crown, topping Lee by 4.7 points with a two-day score of 119.650.
Lee wasn't caught up in the numbers. With the Olympic trials only two weeks away, she was gratified to put together solid back-to-back performances in her first all-around competitions in more than a year.
"This is a really good confidence booster,'' said Lee, who also won silver on balance beam and was fifth on floor exercise. "I'm really proud of myself.
"It felt really good to be in the top two. I felt like people kind of doubted me because I've been injured for a little bit."
Lee, 18, left no doubt Sunday that she remains a top contender for the Olympic team. She was among a group of 18 to qualify for the Olympic trials June 24-27 in St. Louis. Grace McCallum of Isanti also will advance to the trials after tying for seventh in the all-around and earning the bronze medal on balance beam.
The U.S. will send a four-woman team and two individual qualifiers to the Tokyo Games. Jade Carey, who finished sixth in the all-around Sunday, already has secured one of the individual spots.
Biles, 24, now owns more U.S. all-around titles than any woman in history. She posted a score of 60.100 Sunday, improving upon an already outstanding performance in Friday's opening night of competition. Lee finished with a total score of 114.950, while Jordan Chiles, who trains with Biles in Spring, Texas, finished third in the all-around with 114.450.
"This championship stands out because it's the road to Tokyo,'' said Biles, who also won U.S. titles on floor exercise, vault and beam. "I'm pretty proud of my performances. I feel like I'm on the correct road for trials."
Lee said she was a little tired after Sunday's competition. Because of foot and ankle injuries, she had competed only on bars and beam in previous meets this season. At the championships, she had to do all four events twice in three days.
She earned an all-around score of 57.600 Sunday, .250 better than her Friday mark. After the first day, she said her ankle was a little sore, but she was determined to push through.
As she did Friday, Lee limited herself to three tumbling passes on floor exercise to protect her ankle. Her bars routine was not as sharp; she scraped her foot on the floor, and she shaved off a bit of difficulty. But when Lee needed a big finish to hold off Chiles, she got it, scoring 14.700 on beam to secure second place.
That caught the attention of Tom Forster, women's high-performance team coordinator for USA Gymnastics.
"She's not really been able, because of injuries, to put together a real solid all-around up to this point," Forster said. "She seems like she's right back where she was in 2019. It's pretty exciting."
For Lee, leading the non-Simone division without being at her peak was an encouraging sign.
"I'm really proud of myself to get into the top two," she said. "That's where I wanted to be.''
The Star Tribune did not travel for this event. This article was written using the television broadcast and video interviews after the competition.