US gymnast Simone Biles makes comeback, secures 20th world title

Simone Biles celebrates during the womens team final at the 2023 Artistic Gymnastics World Championships. CNN
Simone Biles celebrates during the women’s team final at the 2023 Artistic Gymnastics World Championships. CNN

In a stunning comeback, Simone Biles led the United States women’s gymnastics team to their seventh consecutive gold at the Artistic Gymnastics World Championships held in Antwerp.

Biles, the 26-year-old gymnastics icon, orchestrated her team’s victory with an extraordinary floor routine, earning a score of 15.166, contributing to their overall score of 167.729.

This event marked Biles’ return to international competition after a two-year hiatus during which she focused on her mental health. She began her remarkable gymnastics journey a decade ago in Antwerp, winning her first world all-around title at the tender age of 16.

Biles now boasts 25 world medals, the most in gymnastics history, and seven Olympic medals. Her remarkable skills have even led to five gymnastic moves being named after her, including the recently achieved Yurchenko double pike, now dubbed the Biles II.

The US women’s team’s dominance in gymnastics dates back to 2011, a period unbroken by any other team, especially with Russia’s absence in recent competitions.

Simone Biles expressed her excitement, saying, “It’s the seventh title in a row for the United States. For some girls, it’s their first World Championship; I’m excited to share that with them.”

Her teammate, Shilese Jones, praised Biles’ leadership, calling her “inspiring and so encouraging.” Biles herself acknowledged that her role and perspective have evolved over the years. 

“I’m not like 16 anymore, I’m 26, like everything feels different,” she stated.

Despite the challenges of aging and the pressure of competition, Biles proved her resilience by performing a perfect Cheng vault during the competition, bypassing her famed Yurchenko double pike. Her performance was consistently strong, with a notable floor score of 15.166.

The US women’s team fended off a strong challenge from Brazil, securing first place with a total score of 167.729. Brazil claimed the silver medal with 165.530 points, led by 24-year-old Rebeca Andrade. 

The French team secured bronze with a score of 164.064, thanks to the remarkable routines of athletes like Melanie De Jesus Dos Santos, Biles’ training partner in the United States.

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