Simone Biles has retaken the gymnastics world after a two-year absence – and she did it just three months after returning to competition.
The American superstar won the individual all-around title for the sixth time at the World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Antwerp on Friday, becoming the most decorated gymnast in the history of the sport.
Ten years after her first victory as a 16-year-old in the same Belgian city, Biles scored 58,399 points on the balance beam, floor, vault and uneven bars, beating Rebeca Andrade, the Brazilian defending champion, by 1,633 points.
Biles’ American teammate Shilese Jones took the bronze medal with 56.332 points.
It was Biles’ 27th world championship medal – and 21st gold. It came two days after the four-time Olympic gold medalist led the U.S. women to a record seventh straight win in the team event.
Simone Biles celebrates her 27th World Championship medal on Friday after the all-around final
Biles (C) – four-time Olympic gold medalist – is by far the most decorated gymnast in history
Biles, 26, scored 58,399 points on the balance beam, floor, vault and uneven bars in Antwerp
Biles now has 34 medals at the world championships and Olympics, making her the most decorated gymnast ever – male or female – at the sport’s two signature events, ahead of the retired Vitaly Scherbo.
Biles’ only blip came right at the end, as she was about to complete her floor routine. After a near-flawless display, she stumbled toward the end of her routine as she was about to perform a series of jumps. But she bounced back in style, and it didn’t cost her enough points deductions to rob her of the gold.
“I know my parents had a heart attack,” Biles told her coach.
With the Olympic Games less than a year away in Paris, Biles is back to her best. And despite stiff competition from Andrade and Jones, she remains a cut above the rest – more than a decade after she began her reign.
Biles has been dominant since returning after a two-year hiatus after her performance at the pandemic-postponed Tokyo Olympics was plagued by a battle with a mental block known as “the twisties.” She was expected to repeat as individual all-around champion in Tokyo, but withdrew from competition to focus on her mental well-being.
After announcing her return, she impressed at the US Classic in early August and added her eighth national title a few weeks later. This week she will compete in her first world championships since 2019.
Biles received the loudest applause during the athlete’s presentation, with Andrade’s name also being welcomed with loud cheers.
Biles, 26, returned to the same Belgian city where she won her first world title a decade ago
Biles still has the women’s vault and uneven bars finals on Saturday, and the balance beam and floor exercise finals on Sunday before returning to the US.
Biles, Jones and Andrade competed in the same rotation and started their competition on vault. Jones got off to a solid start, catching a double-twisting Yurchenko with a small jump that gave her 14,233 points.
In her blue leotard, Biles then opted for a Cheng jump – not the more difficult Yurchenko Double Pike she pioneered during team qualifying – and was nearly perfect in her execution, scoring 15,100 points. Andrade, the defending champion, also attempted a Cheng, but her execution was not as good as Biles’ and she had to settle for 14,700.
Even on her weakest apparatus, the uneven bars, Biles still managed a score of 14.333, putting her in the lead ahead of Andrade, who after a long wait produced an excellent bar routine and closed the gap to her American rival to just 0.233 points before moved up. to the balance beam.
Biles looked a little shaky when she climbed onto the beam, but the rest of her routine was excellent. Jones put in a stellar performance to move into second place overall and was warmly hugged by Biles after her effort.
Andrade bounced out of bounds seconds before completing her floor routine, a fluffy final step that marred an otherwise brilliant display. The mistake cost her three-tenths of a point, but not her silver medal.
Biles’ competition continues this weekend with the women’s vault and uneven bars finals on Saturday and the balance beam and floor exercise finals on Sunday.