Simone Biles is as great now as she’s ever been. Appreciate it.

FORT WORTH, Texas — Most athletes are at their peak for a couple of years. If they’re lucky, they can stretch it to four or five. Only the singular talents — LeBron, Serena, Tiger, Brady — can sustain a level of excellence over their entire careers.

At 27 years old, and at her ninth U.S. championships, she looks as good as she did in, well, pick a year. Any year. Actually, she’s even better, because she continues to push herself and the boundaries of her sport with skills so difficult other women don’t even bother trying them.

Biles finished with a score of 60.45 on Friday night, the first time she’s broken the 60-point barrier in this Olympic cycle. She had the highest score on each event and is almost 3½ points ahead of the rest of the field. You know those early-season blowouts by the college football powerhouses? Think that.

Asked if it was the best performance of Biles’ she’s seen, coach Cecile Landi said, “I think so.”

“But it’s not even the skills,” said Landi, who has coached Biles along with husband Laurent Landi since 2018. “It’s the attitude and her behavior. I really feel like she’s happy to be here. I know she says she’s ready to be done, but I think she’s really enjoying it and appreciating every meet she gets to do. We see a lot of people with injuries, and she feels prepared and lucky to be able to do this.”

And we’re lucky to be able to witness it.

What Biles is doing is not normal. The scores, the skills, the domination — none of it. And it’s somewhat unfair that because she’s been so good, for so long, her greatness is almost taken for granted.

Her Yurchenko double pike vault Friday night drew oohs and aahs, because it’s still new enough and the risk involved was debated and discussed all of last season. But the Cheng she did afterward would set gymnastics fans atwitter if anyone else did it. See the reaction to Skye Blakely’s. For Biles, however, it’s just another vault.

There were falls aplenty on balance beam. Biles, however, flipped and twisted on the 4-inch-wide apparatus more easily than most people walk on flat ground, her landings secure and one skill flowing seamlessly into the next. Other gymnasts could spend years training just that event and they still wouldn’t make it look that easy.

Then there’s floor exercise.

When Biles brought back the Biles II tumbling pass, a triple-twisting double somersault, at the U.S. Classic two weeks ago, she had so much power she practically bounded off the podium on the landing. On Friday night, it was much more controlled. But focusing on that overlooks the fact it’s a skill no one else can do. It’s like criticizing Michelangelo for his choice of paint colors rather than appreciating the magnificence of his work.

Of course the goal is perfection, but it doesn’t diminish or dull what Biles is doing in her pursuit of it.

“We could be at 7.1 (for difficulty) if everything counts, so I hope on Sunday she’s at 7.1 and a little bit better execution score. Because I think it was a little bit rough on her. An 8.2 with this routine?” Laurent Landi said. “She’s the Olympic champion with that routine, at least five- or six-tenths ahead of everybody else. So 8.2, it’s a little bit rough.’

But that’s the blessing and the curse with the truest greats. It wasn’t enough for Tiger Woods to win a major, he had to win it by seven shots. It’s not enough for LeBron James to score more points than any other player in the history of the NBA, he’s got to win more titles, too.

We crave greatness. But after we get over our initial wonder at it, we want more. We demand more, quickly forgetting how lucky we are just to be in the presence of it.

“I’m lucky to be with her every day,” Cecile Landi said. “I’m not saying it’s normal, but I think with the amount of work that she does, it’s expected, (with) the talent she has. I feel really lucky to be around her, that’s for sure.”

We all are. Don’t ever forget it.

Follow USA TODAY Sports columnist Nancy Armour on social media @nrarmour.

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