Biles ends re­mark­able worlds with 4th gold

San Francisco Chronicle (Sunday) - - SPORTS -

DOHA, Qatar — Si­mone Biles re­turned to train­ing last Novem­ber won­der­ing whether she could ever re­turn to the form that made her an Olympic cham­pion.

She doesn’t won­der any­more. Nei­ther does any­one else.

The Amer­i­can star capped a re­mark­able 2018 world gym­nas­tics cham­pi­onships by claim­ing gold on floor ex­er­cise and bronze on bal­ance beam dur­ing event fi­nals Satur­day, giv­ing her six medals for the meet and 20 over­all in the world cham­pi­onships, tied with Rus­sia’s Svet­lana Khork­ina for most by a fe­male gym­nast.

“I think there’s a lot to be proud, but I’m most proud of that I’m here, I made all the event fi­nals, medaled in all of the events, and I sur­vived,” Biles said.

Some­thing that wasn’t a guar­an­tee be­fore the meet. Biles spent the night be­fore qual­i­fy­ing in the hos­pi­tal deal­ing with pain from a kid­ney stone. The stone was too big to pass and she couldn’t take pre­scrip­tion pain med­i­ca­tion be­cause of dop­ing reg­u­la­tions, forc­ing her to deal with it.

Biles did more than deal with it. She dom­i­nated. Like al­ways.

The 21-year-old will head home to Hous­ton with gold medals from the team fi­nal, the all-around fi­nal, floor and vault as well as sil­ver on un­even bars and bronze on beam. She be­came the first woman to earn a medal on all four events since Ye­lena Shushunova did it for the Soviet Union in 1987.

Biles be­lieves it’s just the be­gin­ning. She’ll visit with doc­tors to treat the kid­ney stone, go on a short va­ca­tion and then point to­ward 2019.

“Hope­fully I feel more con­fi­dent next year go­ing into all of the events,” she said. “We’ll see about up­grades. I’m not sure. We’ll see.”

Biles fin­ished a busy 10 days by drilling her floor rou­tine, which in­cludes in­tri­cate tum­bling runs that are as dif­fi­cult as any­thing done by the men these days. Though she stepped out of bounds on her third pass, her score of 14.933 was a full point bet­ter than that of team­mate Mor­gan Hurd, who earned her third medal of the meet by fin­ish­ing with sil­ver. Ja­pan’s Mai Mu­rakami took third.

Biles wasn’t quite as crisp on beam, an event that she’s strug­gled with re­cently. She wob­bled dur­ing qual­i­fy­ing and fell off dur­ing the all-around fi­nals. Though she man­aged to stay on dur­ing event fi­nals, she found her­self off bal­ance on mul­ti­ple oc­ca­sions. Her score of 13.6 held up for bronze be­hind China’s Liu Tingt­ing and Canada’s Ana Padu­rariu.

And no one’s ex­pec­ta­tions are higher. Biles took her­self to task af­ter the all-around, un­happy with a se­ries of un­char­ac­ter­is­tic mis­takes. She vowed to re­deem her­self in the event fi­nals and re­sponded by reach­ing the podium in each event.

“I’m really happy to be done,” Biles said. “Proud of my per­for­mances here. I wish some of them would have been bet­ter, but I’m really proud of the out­come.”

Hurd won a team gold, bronze in the all-around and sil­ver on floor, val­i­dat­ing her break­through per­for­mance at the 2017 world cham­pi­onships when she be­came an un­likely cham­pion.

On the men’s side, five-time U.S. cham­pion and two-time Olympian Sam Miku­lak picked up the first world cham­pi­onship medal of his ca­reer when he fin­ished third in the high bar fi­nal be­hind Epke Zon­der­land of the Nether­lands and Ja­pan’s Ko­hei Uchimura, who boosted his ca­reer worlds medals to 21.

Karim Jaa­far / AFP / Getty Images

Si­mone Biles com­petes in the floor ex­er­cise fi­nal on the last day of the gym­nas­tics world cham­pi­onships in Doha, Qatar.

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