Simone Biles Becomes Most Decorated Gymnast In World Championship History

11 minutes ago

Not even the numbers can dispute it: As of Thursday, Simone Biles is the greatest gymnast ever to have competed in the world championships.

Biles became the most-decorated gymnast in world championship history as she collected five medals in the finals in the 2019 World Gymnastics Championships in Stuttgart, Germany. She now holds 26 world medals.

The 22-year-old surpassed Belarusian Vitaly Scherbo, who accumulated 23 medals at the world championship stage when he competed during the 1990s. After starting the day needing two medals to tie Scherbo, Biles obliterated the existing record and set a new one of her own.

Biles competed Thursday in four individual events against the top 23 gymnasts from the qualifying round. Her combined score was 58.999, earning her the all-around gold medal.

Xijing Tang of China placed second with 56.899. Russian gymnast Angelina Melnikova collected a bronze medal, with an overall score of 56.399.

In last year's competition, Biles won the individual all-around gold medal and scored the most points in the vault and floor events.

At this year's championship, Biles placed first in the individual vault event with a score of 15.233. She also earned a gold medal on the balance beam, where she scored 14.633 points.

The native of Texas ended the 2019 competition with a bang by placing first on the floor, with a score of 14.400 that secured her all-around victory. She also received a bronze medal for her uneven bars routine.

Thursday's five medals bring Biles' 2019 haul at the championships to six, including a team gold. On Tuesday, Biles led Team USA to their fifth consecutive world title.

Athletes and celebrities flocked to Twitter to praise Biles' 2019 performances.

Biles has four signature gymnastic moves named after her.Gymnasts must submit it for consideration and successfully land it at a major competition to have a move named after them. Two of those moves, the "Biles II" and the "Biles", were added during Biles's 2019 performances.

Despite her record-setting performance at the championships, both Biles and USA Gymnastics expressed disappointment at the points classification the "Biles" was assigned. The FIG Women's Technical Committee said the move was given a lower score in order to dissuade gymnasts from attempting a potentially dangerous maneuver.

Paolo Zialcita is an intern on NPR's News Desk.

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