Another day, another record for Simone Biles
STUTTGART, Germany (AP) — Another day, another record for Simone Biles.
In a week where she’s written even more history than she usually does, the U.S. gymnastics star won her 23rd world championship medal on Saturday in vault.
That matches the all-time record by any gymnast, male or female — and expect Biles to be back on the podium in two more events Sunday.
“I think it’s impressive. Also, I don’t really think of it going into the competition, because I feel that kind of weighs heavy on me,” Biles said. “I just go in, do what I’m supposed to, and whatever the outcome is, I just kind of let it happen.”
Biles didn’t need the vault which bears her name to win gold Saturday. Instead of the Biles, which she landed at last year’s worlds, she picked two vaults which are slightly more familiar, though still fearsomely difficult, the Cheng and the Amanar.
Still, she hinted the Biles will be back in time for next year’s Olympics in Tokyo.
“We haven’t trained (the Biles) that much. It definitely didn’t go as well as the training last year, but going into the gym we’ll focus a lot more on that vault,” she said.
Biles scored 15.399 to win, while U.S. teammate Jade Carey took the silver on 14.883, with Ellie Downie of Britain third on 14.816.
By adding another medal to the safe where Mom stores her awards, Biles matched the mark of 23 medals set by Belarusian Vitaly Scherbo.
Biles already broke a tie for the women’s medals record on Tuesday. She still has the chance to overtake Scherbo in Sunday’s balance beam and floor events.
The 22-year-old American could have made it 24 in the uneven bars on Saturday, but couldn’t repeat her silver-medal performance from last year and finished fifth.
Belgian uneven bars specialist Nina Derwael retained her world title with a score of 15.233, ahead of Britain’s Becky Downie on 15, one of two sisters to win medals Saturday. Sunisa Lee took bronze for the U.S. on 14.8.
Biles scored 14.7, finishing by sticking the landing on a dismount with two flips and two twists. The uneven bars has traditionally been her weakest event and was the only one in which she didn’t win a medal at the 2016 Olympics.
“Right now, I couldn’t be more happy with the performances I put out today. Obviously no medal on bars, but I’m not even mad about it,” Biles said.
“I knew going into today there was a very slim chance that I would even medal, but to make a bar final and get to represent the country, I feel really proud because this is not one of my strong suits. But it’s getting up there and I just feel really proud.”
Of Biles’ 23 world championship medals, 17 are gold against 11 for Scherbo, who won his from 1991 through 1996. Scherbo competed at four world championships, against Biles’ five, but the men’s program contains more events.
Biles came into the world championships tied as women’s record-holder on 20 with Svetlana Khorkina, but broke the tie with team gold Tuesday before winning her fifth individual all-around gold two days later.
In the men’s events, Britain’s Max Whitlock won his third world title in pommel horse, while the Philippines and Turkey celebrated their first-ever world champions.
A year after becoming the Philippines’ first gymnast to win a medal, Carlos Yulo took victory in the men’s floor exercise.
Last year’s bronze medalist, Yulo performed the most difficult routine of any of the eight finalists to score 15.3 and beat Israel’s Artem Dolgopyat by one-tenth of a point. Xiao Ruoteng of China took bronze with 14.933.
Whitlock scored 15.5 with a high-difficulty routine in the pommel horse.
Lee Chih-Kai took silver for Taiwan on 15.433, while Rhys McClenaghan won the bronze on 15.4 as the first Irish gymnast ever to compete in a world championship final.
Ibrahim Colak won on rings for Turkey with 14.933, beating Italy’s Marco Lodadio and French bronze medalist Samir Ait Said. Olympic gold medalist and three-time world rings champion Eleftherios Petrounias was fourth.
For Ait Said, the bronze means he’s secured qualification for the Tokyo Olympics, which will take place four years after he shattered his leg on a vault in qualifying for the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Since then, “the training was hard,” he said. “It was hard, and it will be more hard.”