Simone Biles makes history at World Artistic Gymnastics Championships

Simone Biles, the most decorated gymnast of all time, has added another milestone to her illustrious career by becoming the first woman to land the Yurchenko double pike vault at an international competition. The 26-year-old American performed the difficult skill on the opening day of qualifying at the 2023 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Antwerp, Belgium, on Sunday.

Biles scores highest in all-around and vault

Biles, who returned to competition in August after a two-year hiatus following the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, scored a whopping 16.100 for her Yurchenko double pike, which has a difficulty value of 6.6. The vault involves a round-off onto the springboard, a back handspring onto the vaulting table, and then two flips in a piked position before landing. Biles is the only woman to have attempted and landed this skill in any competition.

Simone Biles makes history at World Artistic Gymnastics Championships
Simone Biles makes history at World Artistic Gymnastics Championships

Biles also performed a Cheng vault, which has a difficulty value of 6.0, and scored 15.400 for an average of 15.750. She easily qualified for the vault final in first place, ahead of Canada’s Ellie Black (14.650) and Great Britain’s Jessica Gadirova (14.616).

Biles also topped the all-around qualification with a total score of 59.332, more than two points ahead of her closest rival, Russia’s Angelina Melnikova (57.199). Biles had the highest scores on vault, balance beam (14.666) and floor exercise (14.433), and the second-highest score on uneven bars (13.733), behind China’s Fan Yilin (14.166).

Biles will compete in all four apparatus finals as well as the team and all-around finals, giving her a chance to win seven medals at these championships.

Biles leads USA to team final

Biles was part of the USA’s five-woman team that qualified for the team final in first place with a score of 170.463, more than five points ahead of second-placed Russia (165.295). The USA team also included Sunisa Lee, Jordan Chiles, Jade Carey and Grace McCallum.

The USA is aiming to win its sixth consecutive world team title and its ninth overall. The team final will take place on Wednesday, October 4.

Biles secures Olympic spot for USA

By qualifying for the all-around final, Biles also secured a team quota spot for the USA for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. The top nine teams in all-around qualification earned Olympic berths, with the exception of China, Japan and Great Britain, who had already qualified at the 2022 World Championships.

The other teams that qualified for Paris 2024 were Russia, Canada, Italy, France, Germany and Brazil. The remaining three team spots will be decided at the continental championships next year.

Biles has already won a record 25 world medals, including 19 golds. She is also tied with Russia’s Svetlana Khorkina for the most world titles in women’s artistic gymnastics with nine. She will have a chance to break both records at these championships.

The World Artistic Gymnastics Championships will continue until October 8, with medals awarded in the team, all-around and apparatus events.

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