Simone Biles Of US Becomes Most Decorated Female Gymnast In History (Video)
Simone Biles won a record 21st medal at the world gymnastics championships on Tuesday as the United States women retained their team all-around title.
It was the 15th world championship gold of Biles’s career, and it broke a tie with the Russian gymnast Svetlana Khorkina for the most medals over all by a woman at the world championships. She is now two short of Vitaly Scherbo’s 23, which is the record for both men and women.
“Every year it feels better and better just because we’re adding to the legacy,” Biles said. “I feel like I never think of records. I just go out there and do what I came to do, which is compete for the country.”
The American team scored 172.330 points to beat Russia, the runner-up, by 5.801 points and win its seventh consecutive team title at an Olympics or world championships.
The reward for winning was a battery-powered medal that lights up when it senses movement. Biles called it “the sickest medal we’ve ever had.”
Biles, 22, posted the best individual scores on the vault, the balance beam and the floor.
“I think if I do the routine that I did tonight I’ll be more than happy” in Thursday’s individual all-around final, she said.
A fall for Sunisa Lee on balance beam and a fumbled routine from Grace McCallum on the uneven bars left the United States with room for improvement, though both were strong in other events.
“It’s just so surreal to come out here and end up on top with the strength of the team that we have, even after having a couple falls out there,” Biles said.
Russia became the first team to get within six points of the United States since China at the 2015 world championships.
“We’re happy that we got second because we can’t battle the Americans just yet,” the Russian gymnast Angelina Melnikova said. “But today the gap was significantly lower than at the last few world championships.”
Biles said other teams were “most definitely” closing in.
“All of the teams have improved their difficulty over the last quad,” she said, “and I think that’s really exciting to see the strength that they have.”
Italy took the bronze to end its 69-year wait for a women’s team medal, as China failed to make the podium for the first time since the 2003 world championships.
China took fourth on a tough day for Liu Tingting, who fell twice on the uneven bars and again on the balance beam.
A fall on the beam mount by the last Italian competitor, Elisa Iorio, made for a tense finish, but she recovered to score enough to stay ahead of China by 0.536 points.
It was a big recovery for Italy, which qualified in last place for the final.
“The goal for today was just to do better than qualification and how it goes, it goes,” the Italian gymnast Giorgia Villa said through an interpreter.
Simone Biles Gym
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