With the 2016 Olympics in Rio just two years away, London Games alum Sam Mikulak and reigning world champion Simone Biles continued their quests to make the Olympic team by winning the all-around titles at the 2014 P&G Gymnastics Championships on Aug. 23 and 24. The competition, which featured both junior and senior level gymnasts competing for both all-around and individual event titles, took place Aug. 21-24 in Pittsburgh.
Biles, 17, handily defeated the field of all-around competitors with a two-day score of 122.550. The mark bested that of silver medalist and London Games alum Kyla Ross (118.300) by more than four full points. The bronze went to Maggie Nichols (117.900). The win gives Biles her second consecutive national all-around title.
In addition to the all-around title, Biles also claimed the gold on both vault (31.025) and floor exercise (31.150), and the silver on balance beam. Ross took the gold on balance beam (30.550), while a much less familiar face, Ashton Locklear, finished first on the uneven bars with a mark of 31.050.
On the men's side, Mikulak staged a comeback after placing fourth during the first day of competition, eventually posting a two-day total of 180.650 to defend his 2013 national title. His fellow Olympic alums John Orozco (180.200) and Jacob Dalton (179.850) finished second and third.
In an interesting twist, a different man earned to honors on each individual aparatus. Dalton won floor, Mikulak took pommel horse, Brandon Wynn topped rings, Donnell Whittenburg won vault, Danell Leyva took the parallel bars, and Orozco took gold on the high bar.
Although the next generation of American gymnasts seem primed to claim berths on the Rio Olympic team, several members of the gold-medal winning Fierce Five from London still have their eyes on a trip to Brazil. Included are vault world champion McKayla Maroney, reigning Olympic all-around champion Gabby Douglas, and Aly Raisman, who owns the only Olympic gold floor exercise medal ever won by an American woman.
U.S. team coordinator Martha Karolyi will spend the next month deciding which five ladies will represent the nation Oct. 3-12 at the 2014 World Championships in Nanning, China. There is, of course, no doubt that Biles will be on hand to defend her title, as her talent is undeniable. In fact, the legendary Mary Lou Retton gave the teen a priceless compliment recently when she called her one of the most talented gymnasts she's ever seen.
For more gymnastics news and information, follow the sport's governing body on Twitter. The Rio Summer Games will take place Aug. 5-21, 2016.