Simone Biles wins 20th world title as US women seal team gold

USA gymnastics team wins seventh consecutive title at world championships

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Simone Biles claimed her 20th world title as she continued her return from a two-year break to lead the US to a seventh straight women's team gold at the world gymnastics championships in Antwerp on Wednesday.

The USA extended their domination going back to 2011, in the absence of Russia, the last team to beat them in a major competition.

“It's crazy, we still pulled it out, I'm really proud of the team,” said Biles.

“It's the seventh title in a row for the United States. For some girls, it's their first World Championship, I'm excited to share that with them.”

The Americans scored 167.729 points to take gold ahead of Brazil (165.530), with Olympic hosts France winning bronze (164.064).

“She's the leader, having someone so inspiring and so encouraging … Team USA came together and we did what we needed to do tonight,” said Biles's teammate, Shilese Jones.

The team victory gives Biles her 26th world medal and a record-extending 20th world title.

And she could extend that tally as she is still in the running for five other podiums in Antwerp.

The Texan has made an impressive comeback, two years after the Tokyo Olympics.

Arriving in Japan as the big favourite thanks to her four gold medals won five years earlier in Rio de Janeiro, Biles broke down in full view of a global audience, withdrawing from four of the five finals.

She explained that she was fighting against the “twisties”, a temporary mental block whereby gymnasts lose their sense of where they are in the air, with the risk of injury when they land.

Celebrities and athletes rally behind Simone Biles

Celebrities and athletes rally behind Simone Biles

Despite a slight imbalance on the beam, Biles's overall performance, highlighted by scoring 15.166 on the floor, was again strong, like on Sunday during the qualifications.

Biles, Jones, Leanne Wong and Skye Blakely resisted a comeback from the Brazilians, who won the first team medal in their history.

The other member of the American team, Joscelyn Roberson, was injured in the vault warm-up and did not compete.

Reigning all-around world champion Rebeca Andrade impressed for Brazil, delivering a classy performance on the floor, scoring 14.666.

The surprise came from France who snatched bronze largely thanks to Melanie De Jesus Dos Santos, Biles's training partner in the US.

Updated: October 05, 2023, 12:52 AM