Belgium’s ANTWERP (AP) — Despite the fact that Simone Biles and her fellow athletes were far from flawless, they still managed to win, setting records for the American women’s team and the best gymnast in history.
In the Women’s Squad event final during the 2023 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships on October 4, Simone Biles and her squad recently made history. In Antwerp, Belgium, the six-person team won the competition for the 7th time in a row. But according to Biles, the team faced a lot of pressure, so it was not an easy journey. It was also Biles’ 33rd major championship medal overall, including from the Olympics and the Worlds, making her the most awarded female gymnast in history.
And it’s appropriate that it happened in Antwerp, Belgium the Belgian port city where Biles rose to fame after winning her first global championship in 2013.
With a total score of 167.729, just 2.199 points ahead of Brazil, Simone Biles and her colleagues Leanne Wong, Shilese Jones, Jocelyn Roberson, and Skye Blakely led the team event final on Wednesday. The South American nation won its first-ever world championship medal with 165.530 points, while France earned the bronze with 164.064.
In Antwerp ten years ago, Simone Biles earned her first medal of the World Cup at the age of 16. She previously shared the record for the most medals earned at the Olympics and World Championships with Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina. Latynina, with her 18 victories, though, continues to be the Olympic medalist with the most.
Rebeka Andrada, the current global all-around champion, is on the Brazilian women’s team, and they were ecstatic to take home the silver. Less than ten months prior to the Olympic Games, the French ladies won the bronze medal with 164,064 points. Gymnastics became even more well-liked in France thanks to their outstanding performance.
In the first three apparatus, Biles scored 14.466 on the bars, 14.800 in the vault, and 14.300 on the beam.
The 26-year-old was the last American competitor in the floor event, and she knew that a strong showing would secure an additional medal for her and her colleagues.
Simone Biles maintained a positive attitude throughout her routine and exuded confidence as she executed her twists and spins with vigor, without missing a step as the judges awarded her a score of 15.166.
With a combined score of 167.729 points, the American team won by an overall score of 2.199 points.
“It wasn’t Team USA’s best day,” Biles said. She also said that although it was bizarre, they were able to free it.
Biles stated that they made a few errors here and there, but Biles advised perseverance and continued reliance on training. She added that she believed that the team they brought this year has the greatest grit and tenacity.
The competition featured a series of highs and lows for Team USA. When Joscelyn Roberson, one of their squad members, was hurt, they suffered a setback. As she warmed up on the vault, the 17-year-old injured her ankle. Leanne Wong, a teammate, was brought in to take the Texas gymnast’s place as damage control.
In the end, Team USA won the competition because of Simone Biles’ 15.166 on the floor, giving them their eighth triumph.
The U.S. women’s team was in a “league of its own,” according to a message of congratulations posted by USA Gymnastics on X, the social networking site that replaced Twitter.
Biles has now collected 26 medals from the world championships, including 20 gold, 3 silver, and 3 bronze.
Prior to the women’s vault and uneven bars finals on October 7 and the balancing beam and floor workout finals the following day, Biles will compete in the women’s solo all-around final on Friday.
So, while more records could be broken and medals could be won this weekend, that’s not exactly what motivates Biles the most at the moment.
Prior to the World Championships, Biles told Olympics.com that she believed her definition of success had changed slightly from what it had been in the past since, even if she had her own desired narrative, everyone had previously defined success for her.
In the women’s team competition, Andrade helped Brazil win its first-ever medal. The French team won their first women’s team medal at the gymnastics international championships since a silver in 1950, encouraged by the thousands of fans who were rooting for them.
She won the first of her 5 world all-around titles as a prodigy aged 16 in the same city that propelled her to prominence around the world ten years earlier.
Every time you win the world championship, it feels a little bit different, according to Biles. “At 26 and a little older, I’m still shocked that I’m still going. Although it is unique, it is exciting.”
Simone Biles discussed Roberson’s injury with the Olympics.com after her team won the competition.
I was more anxious than ever today, and once [Joscelyn] was injured, I was just like, “Get it together, get it together.”
The Comeback From Simone Biles
The occasion also represents a comeback for Simone Biles, who will compete in Belgium in what will be her first international match in two years. Due to the “twisties”—a potentially hazardous mind-body separation in which gymnasts lose their sense of space midair—she was pulled from the Olympics of Tokyo in 2021 and took the time she needed to physically and mentally rehabilitate.
Biles said regarding her time off to Inside Gymnastics Magazine that you sort of have to allow yourself that a mental break, because if not, undoubtedly, your body will make the decision for you, and that’s what she did in Tokyo. “It happened at the worst possible time, but I’m glad it did because I was able to go and truly focus on myself. And I’m still making progress with myself,” she added.