West News Wire: Gymnastics superstar Simone Biles continued her spectacular return from a two-year break by claiming her 21st world title with all-around gold at the world gymnastics championships in Antwerp, Belgium.
The United States gymnast produced a dominant display on Friday to score 58.399 points and secure the title ahead of defending champion Rebeca Andrade of Brazil (56.766), with US teammate Shilese Jones taking bronze (56.332).
Biles obtained the best score on three of the four apparatuses, with the uneven bars the exception.
Biles, who won her first all-around world title as a 16-year-old in Antwerp a decade ago, has now claimed a total of 27 world medals including 21 golds and led the US women’s team to their seventh consecutive team title on Wednesday.
In total, Biles now has 34 medals across the world championships and Olympics, making her the most decorated gymnast ever male or female at the sport’s two signature events. Biles has also surpassed Belarusian Vitaly Scherbo’s record of 33 medals in total at the Olympics and world championships.
“Actually, I had something in my eye today that I couldn’t get out, I swear it’s true,” she told reporters.
In 2013, Biles won four medals, including two golds, to start her world record tally. Ten years later, she returned to Antwerp, Belgium, and remarked, “But I was emotional because ten years ago I won my first worlds and now we’re here.”
After everything I’ve worked for to return here and feel secure and capable of competing, it means the world to me.
Given that there are still two more days of competition and four more apparatus finals for Biles to compete in, all indications point to her medal haul growing.
Since the Olympics in Tokyo, Biles has returned to the sport in breath-taking fashion.
Due to a temporary mental block known as “twisties,” which causes gymnasts to lose track of their position in the air, Biles, who had arrived in Japan as the heavy favourite thanks to her four gold medals from Rio de Janeiro five years earlier, broke down and withdrew from four of the five finals.
The Texan is preparing for the Paris Olympics now that she has returned to the top level after using her hiatus to look after her mental health.
Biles admitted, “I was actually less anxious today.
“I was so much more nervous for team finals just because that’s when everything occurred [in Tokyo], so I was a bit traumatised from that, so today I felt a little bit more relaxed. I’m happy that’s over,” she said.
Biles’s 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.