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U.S. gym­nas­tics queen Si­mone Biles equaled the all-time record of 23 world cham­pi­onship medals on Satur­day but in­sisted she had lit­tle time to re­flect on her as­ton­ish­ing feat with two more fi­nals still to come.

STUTTGART, Ger­many (AFP) — U.S. gym­nas­tics queen Si­mone Biles equaled the all­time record of 23 world cham­pi­onship medals on Satur­day but in­sisted she had lit­tle time to re­flect on her as­ton­ish­ing feat with two more fi­nals still to come.

The 22-year-old Biles needs one more medal from Sun­day’s beam and floor fi­nals in Stuttgart to over­take Be­laru­sian gym­nast Vi­taly Scherbo.

“I don’t have time to think about th­ese things. I think of my per­for­mances - and then din­ner,” Biles told AFP when asked about equal­ing Scherbo’s record from the 1990s.

Biles took her third gold of the week — af­ter all-around and team suc­cess — in the vault fi­nal ahead of U.S. team-mate Jade Carey, who fin­ished with sil­ver while Bri­tain’s El­lie Downie took bronze.

“I was just happy to land it very well,” said Biles af­ter her sec­ond vault con­firmed vic­tory. “Be­cause in prac­tice… I was al­ways over­shoot­ing, so I was pleased to have a nice, peace­ful land­ing.”

One at a time

Biles, a four-time Olympic cham­pion, stretched her own record tally of world ti­tles to 17 and can po­ten­tially leave Stuttgart with five medals.

Biles later missed the chance of a sec­ond medal on Satur­day, fin­ish­ing fifth in the un­even bars fi­nal be­hind win­ner Nina Der­wael of Bel­gium, who re­tained the ti­tle she won in Doha last year.

“I’m ex­cited with the per­for­mances I put out to­day, ob­vi­ously no medal on the bars, but there was (only) a slim chance I was go­ing to (get one),” ad­mit­ted Biles.

The U.S. star is “99.9 per­cent” sure this will be her last world cham­pi­onships, but gives lit­tle thought to po­ten­tially mak­ing his­tory on Sun­day.

“I just keep a clear head go­ing into all the fi­nals,” she said. “I try to think of it one at a time, cher­ish the mo­ment, com­pete with pride and just have fun.”

Bri­tain’s Becky Downie, 27, took sil­ver on the un­even bars be­hind Der­wael, less than two hours af­ter younger sis­ter El­lie, 20, earned bronze be­hind Biles on the vault.

“It’s been so long, so many years, I can’t be­lieve I have fi­nally done it,” said the el­der Downie af­ter com­ing sec­ond on the bars.

Younger sis­ter El­lie, the 2017 al­laround Euro­pean cham­pion, was as equally de­lighted with her bronze medal on the vault.

“I was just so happy to stick my vaults and cross­ing my fin­gers, it’s crazy to win a worlds medal af­ter a roller­coaster of a week,” she said.

Fel­low Bri­ton Max Whit­lock, the men’s Olympic pom­mel horse cham­pion, won the world ti­tle in Stuttgart for the third time in his ca­reer.

Tiny mar­gins

The 26-year-old added to his 2015 and 2017 ti­tles with a win­ning mar­gin of only 0.067 points ahead of sil­ver medal­ist Lee Chih-Kai of Tai­wan. Ire­land’s Rhys Mc­Cle­naghan fin­ished 0.1 back to claim bronze.

“It was a very tough fi­nal, the stan­dard was so high with mar­gins so tiny,” said Whit­lock. “I made an er­ror early on, but if any­thing that made me more de­ter­mined to per­fect every skill from them on.”

Ibrahim Co­lak of Turkey scooped his first ma­jor ti­tle with gold on the men’s rings as Olympic cham­pion Eleft­he­rios Petrou­nias fin­ished fourth.

Co­lak, 24, won by just 0.033 points ahead of Ital­ian Marco Lo­da­dio.

France’s Samir Ait Said earned bronze, 0.133 back.

Ait Said’s first world cham­pi­onship medal, at 29, came three years af­ter suf­fer­ing a dou­ble frac­ture of the left leg at the Rio Olympics.

“I’m on a cloud,” said the French­man. “I’m not go­ing to lie, I was scared be­cause I knew the stakes were high.”

Petrou­nias, the 2016 Olympic cham­pion and a three-time world gold medal­list, fin­ished just off the podium, only 0.2 points back.

Ear­lier, Fil­ipino teen Car­los Edriel Yulo, 19, won the men’s floor ti­tle, bet­ter­ing the bronze he won last year, by 0.1 points ahead of Is­rael’s Artem Dol­go­pyat. China’s Xiao Ruoteng col­lected bronze.


Si­mone Biles of the United States re­acts in the Vault women’s Ap­pa­ra­tus Fi­nal at the FIG Artis­tic Gym­nas­tics World Cham­pi­onships in Stuttgart, Ger­many, Satur­day. Biles equaled the all-time record of 23 world cham­pi­onship medals.

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