More gold for Biles
Six-medal haul from Doha gives gymnast record 14 world golds
Simone Biles was, from time to time Saturday at the world gymnastics championships, astonishing, imperfect, sleepy, proud, defiant and, once again, a champion of unprecedented proportions.
Biles, 21, of Spring, wrapped up a week in Doha, Qatar, by winning a gold medal on floor exercise and a bronze on balance beam, performing for a fifth day while dealing with the discomfort of a kidney stone that required a late-night emergency room visit last weekend.
A year and a day removed from her return to training after a 14-month layoff in the wake of the 2016 Olympics, she will return to Texas with six medals — four golds with the USA Gymnastics women’s team, in the allaround, on floor and vault, a silver on uneven bars, her first world medal in that event, and a bronze on beam.
Biles is the fourth woman to medal in all six events in world or Olympic competition and the first to do so since Elena Shushunova of the Soviet Union in 1987. With her six-medal haul from Doha, she has 14 world gold medals, a record for any gymnast, and 20 medals overall, tying Svetlana Khorkina of Russia for first place among female gymnasts.
“I’m happy to be done,” Biles said in a post-event interview provided by USA Gymnastics. “I’m proud of my performances here. I wish some of them would have been better, but I’m really proud of the outcome.”
Struggled on balance beam
As has been the case for Biles in Doha, Saturday was a mixed bag by her admittedly unprecedented standards. She continued her recent struggles on balance beam with a collection of form breaks that dropped her score to 13.6 with an uncommonly low 7.4 execution score on a 10-point scale.
Still, Biles remained in the lead midway through the competition until Anne-Marie Padurariu of Canada surpassed her with a score of 14.1 that in-cluded a seven-tenths edge over Biles for execution. Liu Tingting of China, the last of nine competitors, won the gold medal at 14.533.
Biles smiled for the cameras after the event but had a tart response to her critics on Twitter a few minutes later, while waiting for her next competition.
“Just saying, I get to decide when I have a disappointing performance. Not y’all,” she wrote. “Over a year out of the sport. Barely a year back in and my first big competition. I’m proud of myself !”
Asked afterward about her response, she said, “It’s upsetting to me when-ever I see all the tweets after I do a performance of how disappointed they are in me. It’s not fair, because they can’t set expectations on me. I have to set those for myself, so it’s really hard seeing all of those.”
As for her performance, she said, “I’m just happy that I stayed on the beam. Going into this world championships, I wasn’t as confident as I used to be on beam. So this is a step forward, and hopefully from here on out it can only improve.”
A few minutes after her Twitter response, Biles was back in camera range, unleashing an enormous yawn, followed by an exchange of laughter with teammate Morgan Hurd, as the lens scanned the nine finalists preparing for the women’s floor exercise final.
She was back on form for floor, with the only significant blemish being a step out of bounds on her third tumbling pass. Her score of 14.933 led Hurd by a full point. Mai Murakami of Japan was third at 13.866.
Biles said she was most pleased for her silver medal on bars, the event in which she has shown the most improvement since her return, and looks forward to a vacation after a doctor’s appointment upon her return to Houston to treat the pesky kidney stone.
Proud to have survived
Asked to sum up her week at worlds, she said, “I’m most proud that I’m here, I made all the event finals, medaled in all the events and I survived.”
Also Saturday, five-time USA Gymnastics men’s national champion Sam Miku-lak win the first world championships medal of his career with a bronze performance on high bar.
Mikulak earlier finished fourth with the U.S. men’s team, fifth in the all-around, fourth on pommel horse, seventh on floor and, in his first fi-nal Saturday, fourth on parallel bars.
Down to his last shot on high bar, however, Mikulak had the best execution score of the nine finalists for a score of 14.533. Epke Zonderland of the Netherlands won at 15.1, three-tenths of a point ahead of six-time world all-around champion Kohei Uchimura of Japan.
Simone Biles competes in the floor exercise final during the 2018 FIG Artistic Gymnastics Championships at Doha, Qatar.