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Gymnast Simone Biles breaks medal record with 25

Free Press wire reports | 10/18/2019, 6 a.m.
American Simone Biles became the most decorated gymnast in world championship history Sunday when she won the beam and floor ...
U.S. gymnast Simone Biles shows off the five gold medals she won at the Gymnastics World Championships in Stuttgart, Germany, making her the world’s most decorated gymnast with a cumulative 25 medals. Marijan Murat/dpa via Associated Press

STUTTGART, GERMANY American Simone Biles became the most decorated gymnast in world championship history Sunday when she won the beam and floor finals to take her career tally to 25 medals.

Soon after securing a convincing victory on the beam at the FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in Stuttgart to overtake Belarusian Vitaly Scherbo’s record of 23 world medals, the 22-year-old Biles successfully defended her floor title to win medal number 25.

The four-time Olympic champion is now the owner of 19 gold medals across four championships against 12 for Scherbo, who competed in five world events between 1991 and 1996. Making her final appearance of the week in front of a raucous crowd, Biles wasted no time as she landed a superb triple-twisting double back flip — known as the Biles II — on her first pass.

Biles’ double layout with a half turn — another skill named after her — put her out of bounds for a 0.1 penalty, but she did enough to post a winning score of 15.133.

“Honestly, I just couldn’t move. I was so tired,” Biles said of her final pose on the stage. “This is really the best worlds performance I have ever put out.”

The Americans took a one-two finish as Sunisa Lee finished with 14.133 for the silver medal, while Russian Angelina Melnikova came in third.

Earlier, Biles delivered a polished routine on the beam before a full twisting double tuck dismount for an impressive 15.066.

Although Biles had twice before won the world beam title in 2014 and 2015, it has not always been smooth sailing for her on the apparatus.

Her slip on the landing of a front tucked somersault at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro meant she had to settle for a bronze medal in the event.

Last year, she dropped off the beam during the women’s all-around final at the world championships.

But she has regained her swagger this week, under the watchful eyes of balance beam Coach Cecile Landi, and posted top scores in all four attempts — qualifying, the team and all-around finals and Sunday’s apparatus final.

“It meant a lot because Cecile has really been working on bringing my confidence back up to where it used to be on the beam,” Biles said.

“To go out there and nail the routine just like I do in practice, it felt really good and I knew she was really proud,” Biles said.

As another title-winning score was announced in the arena, Biles punched the air in jubilation before joining celebrations with the U.S. team.

“I was really excited,” she added. “I thought it was going to be at least 14.8, 14.9, but to see 15, I was like well that’s pretty crazy, so I was very proud.”

Last year’s winner, Liu Tingting of China, took the silver medal with 14.433, while Li Shijia, also of China, won the bronze medal.

Biles finished her campaign in Stuttgart with five gold medals from six events to mark ideal preparations for next year’s Olympics in Tokyo.

Her barnstorming run included a record fifth all-around gold, an individual vault title, as well as helping the United States to a fifth straight world team title.

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