Simone Biles is officially back.

At the Core Hydration Classics in suburban Chicago on Saturday night, she looked as comfortable as she ever has on the mat. Competing in her first gymnastics event since the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, Biles easily won the all-around title as well as the gold for vault, beam and floor. On the uneven bars, often considered her weakest event, she took second.

Between events, the four-time Olympic gold medalist danced with her teammates and did a synchronized celebration with Jordan Chiles to celebrate her vault. According to Biles, though, looks were deceiving.

“I thought I was going to s–t bricks! I was very nervous. So at least if it looked like I was having fun, that’s good. But I think after every routine, it got a little bit easier. And usually my power events, vault and floor, before I go in, I’m like, ‘OK, I know I’m gonna make these,'” Biles said.

“I think this was the complete opposite in trainings. I’ve been making all my bar sets, all my beam sets. So that’s kind of a complete 180 for me. So to get out there on floor and vault, I was like, ‘Ooh, how’s this gonna go?’ I’ve been making them, but not as confident. So getting back in that groove and just having fun and remembering that I’m here for myself.”

Finding confidence is a big part of the Classics. Biles wasn’t the only gymnast who used this event to find a way back to the floor before the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Suni Lee, Chiles and Jade Carey — all Olympic medalists who have moved on to NCAA competition — competed to rediscover some comfort at the elite level again. Leanne Wong, an alternate for the 2021 Olympics, has been competing at the college level, as well. She took second at Classics, as she vies for a spot on the United States’ 2024 Olympic team.

What happens next?

Gymnasts will head to San Jose for the U.S. Championships at the end of August. That event will not only include the gymnasts who posted qualifying scores from Classics. Shilese Jones, who helped the U.S. team win gold at the World Championships in 2022 while also taking silver in the all-around and uneven bars, will be competing at the U.S. Championships because of her accomplishments at Worlds.

What does this mean for Paris?

Technically, the Classics the year before the Olympics don’t mean anything when it comes to choosing who will compete for the U.S. in Paris. However, since it’s a qualifier for the U.S. Championships, it’s not an event gymnasts take lightly. It’s a chance for them to get judged on their routines and figure out what needs to be tweaked as they move forward in the Olympic cycle. If the Olympics are the peak of a mountain range, think of the Classics as the foothills.

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Joscelyn Roberson placed third in the all-around at the U.S. Classic on Saturday. (Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)

Beyond the established names, who else should we look out for?

For gymnasts who have already won Olympic medals, the Classics were about finding their footing again and building confidence heading into the U.S. Championships and team selection camp for Worlds. For other gymnasts, this competition was about establishing themselves as a real threat to make the World Championship team and, eventually, the Olympic team.

Here are three American gymnasts to watch.

Joscelyn Roberson

When you see Roberson compete, Shawn Johnson’s powerful tumbling and vaults will come to mind. Roberson trains at the same gym as Biles and Chiles, and holds her own with Olympic teammates. She took third in the all-around on Saturday, and tied for second on floor, tied for third on beam and placed second on vault. Earlier this year, Roberson won medals at multiple international events. She’s committed to Arkansas for 2025, so she will continue to train with an eye on the Olympics.

Skye Blakeley

At just 18, Blakeley has an impressive resume. She was part of the gold-medal winning 2022 World Championships team, and she’s won medals at the Pan-American Championships. On Saturday, she tied for second on bars and third on beam. Though she’s committed to Florida, she is holding off on college to focus on Olympic training.

Kaliya Lincoln

The LSU-bound gymnast showed she has the talent to compete with the best the U.S. has to offer. On floor exercise and vault, Lincoln can fly while still keeping perfect form in the air. With extra training at LSU and WOGA, her home gym in Texas, Lincoln has the skills to make a run at the Olympic team.

Maggie Hendricks is a contributing writer for Just Women’s Sports. She also covers women’s sports for Bally Sports. Follow her on Twitter @maggiehendricks.

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. — When Simone Biles was introduced to the crowd at the beginning of the Core Hydration Classic on Saturday night, she ran out, waved to the crowd, and then paused, looking around the floor exercise mat for some guidance. She wasn’t sure where she was supposed to stand as the rest of the competitors were announced. A fellow gymnast waved her over, Biles laughed, and she headed to the edge of the mat.

It was the last time she didn’t look at home on the gymnastics floor. Biles scored a 59.100 to win her first all-around competition since the 2021 Olympic Trials. Starting on the uneven bars, Biles scored a 14.000. Just before her dismount, Biles lost her form and had to muscle back into position before doing her full-twisting double back.

The break on bars was the biggest mistake Biles had on Saturday night. On balance beam and floor exercise, she was steady and aggressive, just as the four-time Olympic gold medalist has always been. For vault, Biles showed she was just as capable of doing the high-flying Yurchenko double pike as she was in 2021. Though she landed off-center, she scored a massive 15.400 thanks to the vault’s difficulty.

The sold-out NOW Arena in suburban Chicago erupted in cheers for every move Biles made, whether it was warming up a vault or dancing with her friend and teammate Jordan Chiles. They chanted her name as she spoke with the media, and stayed well after the meet was over to show their appreciation.

“I think what shocks me the most is, everyone’s so supportive, like in the crowd, all of the girls, all of the signs, like after everything that transpired in Tokyo, and obviously, you know, they ‘at me’ in all those tweets and stuff, so I get a lot of that stuff. But the amount of outpouring love and support that I had on Twitter, on Instagram, and in the arena was just really shocking,” she said.

“And surprising to me that they still have so much belief in me, they still love me, and it just makes my heart warm, because it’s nice to come out here and have all that support, especially in a time like this where I was, like really nervous to compete again. But everyone, I can’t ask for more.”

The Classics were Biles’ first competition back since she pulled out of the Olympic team competition with “twisties,” a type of mental block gymnasts sometimes deal with that prevents them from knowing where they are in the air.

Since then, she’s spoken out on the importance of mental health for athletes. In her personal life, Biles married Green Bay Packers safety Jonathan Owens. She returned to training in 2022. According to her coach Cecille Landi, Biles stepped up her training after the wedding this spring.

“I had dinner with her, and it was this year and she told me she really wanted to get a chance to do it. After that, I would say after the wedding. Once everything was over, then we saw a shift in her training and commitment to being back,” Landi said on Friday.

Competing at the Classics was Biles’ first step back on the road to the 2024 Paris Olympics.

With her win Saturday, she qualified for the U.S. championships in San Jose at the end of August. Then, the country’s top gymnasts will take part in a selection camp to decide who will represent the United States at the world championships in Antwerp in October. She joked when asked whether she’s thinking about her plans for the Olympics.

“Right now, I think I should just embrace what happened today. Be happy for me, for my teammates. We’ll go into championships in a couple of weeks and work on those tweaks that we had today, but I’m in a really good spot and who knows? I’m not gonna think so far ahead,” Biles said.

“It’s just like when you get married, they ask you when you’re having a baby. You come to Classics, and they’re asking you about the Olympics. I think we’re just trying to take it one step at a time.”

Biles wasn’t the only star to make a big step back to competition at Classics. Sunisa Lee, the 2021 Olympic All-Around champion, did the vault and beam. After Lee finished on the beam, her first event back at the elite level since dealing with a kidney condition, she hugged her trainer and sobbed. She said on Friday that her biggest goal was to qualify for the U.S. championships, and she did just that with a 14.500 on beam and a 13.500 on vault.

“I think it went really well tonight. I’m super proud of myself for pushing. There were times when thought I wouldn’t be able to do this, but I definitely got over the fear and the doubt. I thought, I’m just going to put myself on the floor, let myself have fun. I think that’s exactly what I did,” Lee said after the meet.

Jade Carey and Jordan Chiles, 2021 Olympians, already qualified for the U.S. championships because they were on the 2022 world championship team that won gold. Still, they competed at Classics to help prepare them for the elite season. Since the Olympics, both have been competing at the college level, with Carey at Oregon State and Chiles at UCLA. Carey scored a 13.900 on beam, and Chiles scored a 13.900 on bars and 12.800 on beam.

Maggie Hendricks is a contributing writer for Just Women’s Sports. She also covers women’s sports for Bally Sports. Follow her on Twitter @maggiehendricks.

The NCAA gymnastics championships begin Thursday, with eight of the top teams in the country descending upon Texas to determine a champion.

Just Women’s Sports is taking a look at what you need to know and which storylines you should watch as the championships kick off.

When and where are the championships?

The championships are being held at Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, Texas.

The semifinals are set for Thursday on ESPN2, with the first at 3 p.m. ET and the second at 9 p.m. ET. The top two teams from each semifinal will advance to the final at 4 p.m. ET Saturday on ABC.

Which teams are competing?

Florida, Cal, LSU and Denver will face off in the first semifinal. Oklahoma, Utah, UCLA and Kentucky will compete in the second semifinal.

Jordan Chiles, UCLA return to center stage

For the first time since 2019 and since Valorie Kondos Field retired from coaching, UCLA is back at the national championships. The Bruins finished third that year, and they could make another deep run this year. A team with a rich national championship history, it was only a matter of time before they returned to this level.

UCLA is led by Olympic medalist Jordan Chiles, who has been one of the best all-around gymnasts in the country this year and could very well take home the title. Of course, that also hinges on the health of Florida’s Trinity Thomas, who is the reigning all-around champion. Chiles’ performances this season include a perfect 10 on the floor at UCLA’s regional final, which helped place them amongst the top eight teams in the country.

But they’re in a semifinal with defending champions Oklahoma and No. 5 Utah, making it hard to predict which two teams to advance to Sunday’s final.

Oklahoma looks for back-to-back titles

Reigning champion Oklahoma looked a bit vulnerable in their regional final, suffering two uncharacteristic falls on beam. But the Sooners were able to rebound and advance as one of the first teams to secure a place in the national championship.

The Sooners know what it takes to win – after all, they’ve won four of the last six national titles. But they could find themselves in a tight competition if Thomas is healthy as Florida features one of the best – and deepest – lineups in the country.

Utah could also factor into the conversation with Grace McCallum expected to return from injury. Led by Maile O’Keefe and Jaedyn Rucker, they were the only team to score a 198 or better twice during regionals.

Will Trinity Thomas be healthy?

A lot at this year’s national championships hinges on the health of reigning all-around champion Trinity Thomas. Thomas stopped midway through her floor routine at Florida’s regional competition and did not feature in the regional final.

Still, Florida advanced even without its star, who remains day-to-day with a right lower leg injury, thanks to astounding depth. Kayla DiCello has been a standout freshman for the Gators, and their lineup also features Sloane Blakely, Leanne Wong and Riley McCusker.

But the questions about the team title and the all-around title remain, and they all hinge on whether or not Thomas is available to compete.

Also notable: Suni Lee will not be competing after Auburn failed to advance to the national championships. She’s been absent since the end of the regular season, and the Olympian has revealed that she’s been battling kidney problems.

Angel City FC has entered the wide world of name, image and likeness rights, signing four student-athletes as ambassadors.

The Los Angeles-based NWSL expansion club announced Friday that it had signed UCLA gymnast Jordan Chiles, USC golfer Amari Avery, wheelchair basketball athlete Luzi Skye and professional skateboarder Bryce Wettstein to an NIL deal in collaboration with global sports and entertainment agency Wasserman.

“We are always looking for pathways to support and promote female athletes and grow the reach of Angel City to deliver more impact to our fans, community and city,” ACFC president and co-founder Julie Uhrman said in a statement.

“As the sports community in Southern California has embraced us, we want to give back and highlight incredible young female athletes. By partnering with these young women, who are at the top of their respective sports, we can give them a platform to grow their brands and their likeness and benefit from their support for Angel City FC and our players.”

As part of the deal, the four ambassadors will connect with ACFC fans at a community event, volunteer at a service event, leverage their own social media channels to drive awareness of the club and will attend home games.

“We are thrilled to partner with Angel City in their efforts to spotlight and celebrate young women in sport across Southern California,” said Lindsey Fitzgerald, Vice President of Women’s Sports and The Collective at Wasserman. “This inaugural class of ambassadors will hopefully benefit from the platform and resources ACFC can provide, and we’re happy to assist in making the program possible.”

Angel City, playing in its first NWSL season, makes its regular season debut Friday night against the North Carolina Courage at Banc of California Stadium.