Up Next

Television

Simone Biles and Sasha Farber reel in the highest score on ‘Dancing with the Stars’ debut

The Olympic gold medalist is looking to win her own Mirrorball Trophy

On Monday, Dancing with the Stars kicked off its 24th season, marking the show’s 400th episode. After 11 dances, Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles — the most decorated gymnast of all time — took to the floor with her partner Sasha Farber in hopes of raking in the Mirrorball Trophy in the end.

One could make the argument that Olympic gymnasts make the best dancers. That at least has been the case on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars. First, it was Shawn Johnson to win in season eight. Last season, Laurie Hernandez won. Now, it’s Biles, Hernandez’s Olympic teammate, competing to win. Two consecutive gymnasts taking the Mirrorball Trophy? That would be a first.

Performing last, Biles and Farber earned the highest score (28 out of 40 points) from judges Julianne Hough, Carrie Ann Inaba, Bruno Tonioli and Len Goodman after their opening night’s dance to Tritonal and Cash Cash’s “Untouchable.”

“You are the power couple,” Inaba said of Biles and Farber’s performance. “That was an exquisite exhibition of technique, elegance and power all wrapped together in a crunchy, yummy tango.”

Biles won four gold medals and one bronze at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games. Her athleticism, rigorous training routine and passion for performing under pressure gives her a leg up in the competition.

She winked at Hernandez before they began. Biles donned a long, silver back-out gown, and the commanding dance showed off her tenacity and precision. Biles recently told espnW that her first experience with dance was not so great. “She was 13, full of bouncing-off-the-walls energy, and taking ballet lessons in hopes of improving her gymnastics skill set. However, convinced her teacher didn’t like her, unable to follow instructions and struggling with some of the skills, Biles stepped away from the barre and focused all her energy on her chosen sport.”

Despite her resistance, she was still interested in the competition and joining the cast.

“I remember thinking after the Olympics, ‘If I ever got a call [from the show], I would want to do it,’ ” Biles said. “But the first time they called — unfortunately I had to decline because I was on the post-Olympics tour. Now it’s my turn.”

Goodman called it “the dance of the night.”

“You are the whole package, your frame, your posture … , ” Hough said. “You guys are the dynamic duo.”

Biles also showed off her new tattoo on Monday — of the Olympic rings. Accompanied by her friend, singer Jake Miller, she posted the photo to her Twitter page.

This season’s lineup includes actor Mr. T, NFL running back Rashad Jennings, Olympic figure skater Nancy Kerrigan, Glee actor Heather Morris, performer Charo and Fifth Harmony’s Normani Kordei.

Kelley Evans is a general editor at The Undefeated. She is a food passionista, helicopter mom and an unapologetic southerner who spends every night with the cast of The Young and the Restless by way of her couch.