Simone Biles of the United States continued her stunning comeback after a two-year absence by earning women’s all-around gold at the World Gymnastics Championships in Belgium.
Earlier this week, Simon Biles, the 26-year-old helped the United States capture a record seventh consecutive team title.
She then won gold on Friday with a total of 58.399 points, beating out defending champion Rebeca Andrade of Brazil (56.766).
It is Biles’ 21st world championship.
She competed in an international competition for the first time in Antwerp since taking a hiatus from the sport in 2021 to work on her mental health.
She became the first male or female gymnast in history to win six all-around world titles.
This victory at the Artistic Gymnastics Global Championships is her 27th global medal and sets a record for total world and Olympic medals, passing Larisa Latynina of the Soviet Union. Biles now has 34 world and Olympic medals, including 27 world championship gold medals and seven Olympic gold medals.
Rebeca Andrade of Brazil, the defending all-around world champion, took silver, while Biles’ colleague Shilese Jones took bronze.
For the first time in the sport’s history, the all-around podium included three black gymnasts.
Gymnasts must compete in all four events in the all-around final: vault, uneven bars, balance beam, and floor. With a stuck landing on her first skill, Biles set the tone for the rest of the competition. She did not complete her Yurchenko double pike vault, instead opting for a Cheng and scoring a 15.100.
Biles next stepped onto the uneven bars, where she performed flawlessly for a 14.333. Biles did not top the rankings in the qualification round for the uneven bars, but she will compete in the final on Saturday.
She wobbled at the start of her balance beam routine but recovered to deliver a confident routine. Biles required a score of 12.901 to win the gold medal after leading Jones and Andrade by less than a point going into the fourth and final rotation. She made a mistake with her dance skills but completed all her tumbling passes to earn a 14.533.
Biles won the individual all-around title just two days after leading the United States women’s team to their seventh consecutive gold medal. Team USA’s team competition began on a sour note, with Joscelyn Roberson, who practices alongside Biles at the World Champions Centre in Spring, Texas, injuring herself during warmups and being carried off
the podium before the first rotation. Roberson looked to land at a low angle while warming up for the “Cheng,” a difficult vault that Biles also attempts.
Who will challenge Simone Biles for the all-around title?
Rebeca Andrade of Brazil, who won the all-around title at the World Championships last year, is back. Despite some difficulties in qualification, she returned with a magnificent performance in the team final, finishing second only to Biles.
Shilese Jones, another American, won silver at last year’s worlds and was second to Biles at the US championships in August. Jones also finished second in qualifying.
Simone Biles medals
American Simone Biles is on the verge of making history. So, more history.
Biles, 26, led the Americans to team gold on Wednesday at the world championships in Antwerp, Belgium, putting her one medal short of being the most decorated gymnast, male or female. She currently has 33 world championships and Olympic medals, tying Vitaly Scherbo.
Antwerp would be an appropriate city for Biles to make her imprint, as that is where she first appeared on the international stage. In 2013, at the age of 16, she won four medals at her maiden global championships, including her first all-around gold.
Where to watch the all-around competition at the World Gymnastics Championships: online streaming of a TV channel
The all-around final will be live on Peacock beginning at 1:30 p.m. ET Friday, and a highlights show will air on CNBC on Oct. 8.
Biles will compete in the finals of the women’s vault and uneven bars on Saturday, followed by the balancing beam and floor exercise finals on Sunday.