Simone Biles shows how it’s done at US Gymnastics Championships

Boston  MA  8/17/18  Simone Biles on the vault during the US senior women's competition at US Gymnastics at TD Garden.  (photo by Matthew J. Lee/Globe staff)
Simone Biles on the vault. –Matthew J. Lee/Globe staff

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Imagine if the New England Patriots began each game a touchdown up on the competition, or if the Red Sox were awarded a complementary run prior to first pitch.

Simone Biles operates in such a reality.

Gymnastics scoring hinges on two factors: difficulty and execution. Biles is widely considered the preeminent gymnast on the planet, so it comes as no surprise her execution is often on point. But it’s the mind-numbing difficulty of Biles’s routines that elevate her to extra-terrestrial levels.

No matter the event, the 21-year-old Biles usually pries open a gap of at least a full point — often times more — between herself and her competitors based on difficulty alone. Friday’s opening session of the US Gymnastics Championships in the senior women’s division provided an apt example.

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Most gymnasts dream about notching a 6 for difficulty on any apparatus. On Friday, Biles paired sound execution with an array of exceedingly challenging skills, tallying 6.7 points for the difficulty of her floor routine, 6.5 on balance beam, 6.2 on uneven bars, and a measly 6 on vault.

The end result was an awe-inducing performance that drew an abundance of shrieks from the TD Garden crowd and placed Biles in the lead with a 60.100 all-around mark. She sits 3.1 points clear of defending champion Morgan Hurd (57.000) in second place.

Biles is the first gymnast to break the 60-point barrier in a meet since the 2016 Rio Games. She finished with the best score in all four events.

Despite appearances to the contrary, Simone Biles finished in first place in the uneven bars Friday at TD Garden. —Matthew J. Lee/Globe staff

“I feel like every event was really good,’’ said Biles. “I calmed my nerves down on each event.’’

Following her renowned performance in Rio, Biles stepped away from the sport for over a year to refuel. She returned in November 2017 facing stricter scoring requirements, and was forced to adjust her already absurd difficulty meter.

“[USA Gymnastics] keeps changing their requirements, so I don’t really have a choice,’’ Biles said.

With the new scoring policies in place and a mock meet looming earlier this year, Biles joined her teammates in penning a number on a notecard that would serve as a goal to hit in all-around competition. Biles settled on 60, then proceeded to achieve her target with only coaches, trainers, and fellow gymnasts there to witness the triumph.

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That Biles was able to hit her target again in her return to America’s biggest gymnastics showcase is a testament to her strong will and sense of confidence.

“I have nothing to prove,’’ said Biles. “I could quit if I wanted to. I feel like I enjoyed Championships a lot more than Classics because I thought at Classics I was still easing back into everything and getting used to competing again. Today I really embraced it.’’

Biles began her floor exercise with an impressive double twisting, double layout, but was docked twice throughout the routine for having both feet land out of bounds. Despite garnering 0.6 points in deductions for the flubs, she still carded a 14.450, one of only two floor routines to break the 14-point barrier.

“I’m pretty pleased with the whole routine even though I went out of bounds on my last two passes,’’ she said. “Floor was my lowest score today, which is kind of crazy.’’

Biles followed by sticking her landing from the vault for a 15.600. Then it was on to the uneven bars, an apparatus that had plagued her and which she has worked tirelessly over the past 12 months to conquer.

On Friday, it was nothing but smooth sailing.

“I wanted to hit bars so bad,’’ she said after scoring 14.850 on it. “Then I was first and I had to calm myself down. I was like, ‘Don’t freak out. It’s OK.’ I hit bars and I was just so excited.’’

Biles closed with a stellar 15.200 on the balance beam, creating plenty of breathing room between her and Hurd. Competition resumes with the final session for the senior women at 8 p.m. Sunday.

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The 17-year-old Hurd was no slouch, placing second in uneven bars, third on the floor, and fourth on the beam. She stuck her dismount from the bars, perhaps a byproduct of the confidence she’s accrued after winning last year’s national meet and competing in Worlds.

“I definitely carry myself with a different confidence,’’ said Hurd. “I have higher standards for myself than I did last year. I’m just happy about how solid I was today.’’

Riley McCusker of Connecticut was third (56.050) as she was able to draw upon the experience she gleaned competing at the US Classic last month.

“I actually watched [my routines] in my living room with my family,’’ she said. “It was just cool seeing myself with commentating on TV. That’s still new to me.’’

Riley McCusker was in third place after the first day of the senior women’s competition at TD Garden. —Matthew J. Lee/Globe staff

Results of Day 1 preliminaries

SENIOR WOMEN

at TD Garden

All-around — 1. Simone Biles, Spring, Texas, 60.100; 2. Morgan Hurd, Middletown, Del., 57.000; 3. Riley McCusker, Brielle, N.J., 56.050; 4. Grace McCallum, Isanti, Minn., 55.900; 5. Trinity Thomas, York, Pa., 55.500; 6. Shilese Jones, Westerville, Ohio, 55.300; 7. Jade Carey, Phoenix, 54.950; 8. Kara Eaker, Grain Valley, Mo., 54.800; 9. Alyona Shchennikova, Evergreen, Colo., 53.750; 9. Shania Adams, Plain City, Ohio, 53.750; 9. Ragan Smith, Lewisville, Texas, 53.750; 12. Jordan Chiles, Vancouver, Wash., 53.600; 13. Margzetta Frazier, Sicklerville, N.J., 52.350; 14. Audrey Davis, Frisco, Texas, 51.300; 15. Sloane Blakely, Frisco, Texas, 50.700; 16. Maddie Johnston, Boyds, Md., 50.250; 17. Luisa Blanco, Little Elm, Texas, 49.600; 18. Olivia Dunne, Hillsdale, N.J., 48.300.

Simone Biles, a star of a different stripe, was flying high in the vault Friday at TD Garden. —Matthew J. Lee/Globe staff

Vault — 1. Simone Biles, Spring, Texas, 15.600 2. Jordan Chiles, Vancouver, Wash., 15.000 3. Shilese Jones, Westerville, Ohio, 14.700 4. Jade Carey, Phoenix, Ariz., 14.550 T5. Morgan Hurd, Middletown, Del., 14.400 T5. Grace McCallum, Isanti, Minn., 14.400 7. Ragan Smith, Lewisville, Texas, 14.200 T8. Audrey Davis, Frisco, Texas, 14.100 T8. Riley McCusker, Brielle, N.J., 14.100 T10. Trinity Thomas, York, Pa., 14.000 T10. Alyona Shchennikova, Evergreen, Colo., 14.000.

Uneven bars — 1. Simone Biles, Spring, Texas, 14.850; 2. Morgan Hurd, Middletown, Del., 14.650; 3. Riley McCusker, Brielle, N.J., 14.500; 4. Trinity Thomas, York, Pa., 14.400; 5. Shilese Jones, Westerville, Ohio, 13.950; 6. Grace McCallum, Isanti, Minn., 13.900; 7. Shania Adams, Plain City, Ohio, 13.700; 8. Deanne Soza, Coppell, Texas, 13.600; 9. Kara Eaker, Grain Valley, Mo., 13.500; 10. Alyona Shchennikova, Evergreen, Colo., 13.450; 11. Ragan Smith, Lewisville, Texas, 13.350; 12. Jordan Chiles, Vancouver, Wash., 13.050; 13. Sloane Blakely, Frisco, Texas, 12.650; 14. Jade Carey, Phoenix, Ariz., 12.550; 14. Margzetta Frazier, Sicklerville, N.J., 12.550; 16. Audrey Davis, Frisco, Texas, 11.750; 17. Maddie Johnston, Boyds, Md., 11.600; 18. Luisa Blanco, Little Elm, Texas, 11.400; 19. Olivia Dunne, Hillsdale, N.J., 11.200.

Balance beam — 1. Simone Biles, Spring, Texas, 15.200; 2. Kara Eaker, Grain Valley, Mo., 14.200; 3. Riley McCusker, Brielle, N.J., 14.150; 4. Morgan Hurd, Middletown, Del., 14.100; 5. Grace McCallum, Isanti, Minn., 13.800; 6. Trinity Thomas, York, Pa., 13.750; 6. Jade Carey, Phoenix, 13.750; 8. Shania Adams, Plain City, Ohio, 13.550; 8. Jordan Chiles, Vancouver, Wash., 13.550; 10. Adeline Kenlin, Iowa City, Iowa, 13.400; 11. Alyona Shchennikova, Evergreen, Colo., 13.300; 11. Shilese Jones, Westerville, Ohio, 13.300; 13. Margzetta Frazier, Sicklerville, N.J., 13.100; 13. Ragan Smith, Lewisville, Texas, 13.100; 15. Audrey Davis, Frisco, Texas, 12.950; 16. Jaylene Gilstrap, McKinney, Texas, 12.650; 17. Sloane Blakely, Frisco, Texas, 12.600; 18. Luisa Blanco, Little Elm, Texas, 12.550; 19. Maddie Johnston, Boyds, Md., 12.200; 20. Olivia Dunne, Hillsdale, N.J., 11.950.

Floor exercise — 1. Simone Biles, Spring, Texas, 14.450; 2. Jade Carey, Phoenix, 14.100; 3. Morgan Hurd, Middletown, Del., 13.850; 4. Grace McCallum, Isanti, Minn., 13.800; 5. Kara Eaker, Grain Valley, Mo., 13.400; 6. Shilese Jones, Westerville, Ohio, 13.350; 6. Trinity Thomas, York, Pa., 13.350; 8. Riley McCusker, Brielle, N.J., 13.300; 9. Ragan Smith, Lewisville, Texas, 13.100; 10. Shania Adams, Plain City, Ohio, 13.000; 10. Alyona Shchennikova, Evergreen, Colo., 13.000; 12. Maddie Johnston, Boyds, Md., 12.900; 13. Margzetta Frazier, Sicklerville, N.J., 12.800; 14. Adeline Kenlin, Iowa City, Iowa, 12.700; 15. Jaylene Gilstrap, McKinney, Texas, 12.650; 16. Deanne Soza, Coppell, Texas, 12.550; 17. Audrey Davis, Frisco, Texas, 12.500; 18. Luisa Blanco, Little Elm, Texas, 12.450; 19. Olivia Dunne, Hillsdale, N.J., 12.050; 19. Sloane Blakely, Frisco, Texas, 12.050; 21. Jordan Chiles, Vancouver, Wash., 12.000.