Simone Biles leads U.S. women to historic seventh straight world title in Antwerp

The U.S. women’s gymnastics team, led by the legendary Simone Biles, made history on Wednesday by winning their seventh consecutive world team title at the world championships in Antwerp, Belgium. The Americans dominated the competition, scoring 179.725 points and beating second-place Russia by a whopping 9.425 points. China finished third with 166.225 points.

Biles shines in her sixth world championships

Simone Biles, who made her world championships debut in Antwerp in 2013, returned to the same venue 10 years later and proved once again why she is the greatest gymnast of all time. The 24-year-old Texan performed four flawless routines, earning the highest scores on vault, beam and floor, and the second-highest score on bars. She also became the first woman to land a Yurchenko double pike vault in a world championships, adding another milestone to her already impressive resume.

Simone Biles leads U.S. women to historic seventh straight world title in Antwerp
Simone Biles leads U.S. women to historic seventh straight world title in Antwerp

Biles, who has won a record 25 world medals, including 19 golds, said she was happy to be back in Antwerp, where she won her first all-around and four individual medals in 2013.

“Antwerp gave me all the confidence I needed going forward. When I came into 2013, I was literally a nobody,” she told meet organizers. “So now to go [back to Antwerp] in 2023 is pretty crazy.”

Biles will compete in the all-around final on Friday, where she is the overwhelming favorite to win her sixth world title and extend her unbeaten streak that dates back to 2013. She will also compete in all four event finals on Saturday and Sunday, where she has a chance to win more medals and break her own record.

U.S. women show depth and consistency

The U.S. women’s team, which also included Shilese Jones, Leanne Wong, Skye Blakely and Joscelyn Roberson, showed their depth and consistency throughout the competition, hitting all 16 routines without any major errors. They scored over 45 points on each apparatus, while no other team scored over 43 points on any event.

Jones, who was the second-highest scorer for the U.S., said she was proud of her team’s performance and grateful for the opportunity to compete with Biles.

“It’s amazing to be on a team with Simone. She’s such an inspiration and a role model for all of us,” Jones said. “We just wanted to go out there and do our best and have fun.”

Wong, who was the third-highest scorer for the U.S., said she was happy with her routines and excited to make her first world championships final in the all-around.

“I think I did pretty well today. I hit all my routines and stayed calm,” Wong said. “I’m looking forward to competing in the all-around final and hopefully doing even better.”

Blakely and Roberson, who were both making their world championships debut, also contributed to the team’s success with solid performances on bars and beam, respectively. Blakely qualified for the bars final, while Roberson qualified for the vault and beam finals.

Russia settles for silver after winning Olympic gold

The Russian gymnasts, who won the Olympic team gold in Tokyo after Biles withdrew with the twisties, had to settle for silver in Antwerp after a shaky performance. They had several falls and errors on bars, beam and floor, which cost them valuable points and put them out of contention for the gold.

Angelina Melnikova, who was the top scorer for Russia and the fourth-highest scorer overall, said she was disappointed with her team’s performance and hoped to improve in the individual finals.

“We made too many mistakes today. We were not as confident as we were in Tokyo,” Melnikova said. “We have to work harder and fix our problems for the next competitions.”

Melnikova qualified for the all-around final and three event finals: vault, bars and floor. She will be joined by Vladislava Urazova in the all-around final and by Viktoria Listunova in the floor final.

China takes bronze despite injuries

The Chinese women’s team, which was hampered by injuries and withdrawals before the competition, managed to take bronze with a score of 166.225 points. They had some difficulties on vault and floor, but performed well on bars and beam, where they are traditionally strong.

Tang Xijing, who was the top scorer for China and the fifth-highest scorer overall, said she was satisfied with her team’s result and proud of their efforts.

“We did our best today. We had some problems on vault and floor, but we did well on bars and beam,” Tang said. “We are happy to win a medal for our country.”

Tang qualified for the all-around final and two event finals: bars and beam. She will be joined by Ou Yushan in the all-around final and by Lu Yufei in the bars final.

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