ANTWERP, Belgium — Brazilian Rebeca Andrade won gold in the women’s vault at the Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in Antwerp after a fall by Simone Biles denied the American another win.
Biles won her 21st World Championships gold medal in all-around event, with Andrade, the reigning champion, finishing second. But the order was reversed as a near flawless Andrade won by a margin of 0.201 points.
Yet the silver still extended Biles’ record tally of World and Olympics medals to 35.
“I didn’t expect this, of course in my head I always want to win but the primary goal is to do my thing. I don’t know if I can believe it but it was something that I really wanted,” Andrade said according to Reuters.
Biles over-rotated her signature Yurchenko double pike — which will be renamed the Biles II — and fell backwards on the mat on landing.
“I didn’t expect Simone to fall, so I feel sad for her because I know how much we train for this,” Andrade added.
The American also took a half-point deduction because her coach stood on the mat as a precaution, ready to assist in case of an accident.
After scoring 15.000 points with her first vault, Andrade then pulled off a double twisting Yurchenko.
Biles also took part in the uneven bars final, but finished fifth in the event won by 16-year-old Qiyuan Qiu of China. Algeria’s Kaylia Nemour took the silver while American Shilese Jones took the bronze medal.
Qiu scored a total of 15.100 points to claim the gold medal. “I am super excited, super happy right now. The moment when I saw my score come up, I almost cried,” Qiu said.
“You guys are actually never going to believe me, but I´ve had something in my eye for like four hours today that I could not get out,” Biles said. “So whenever I was staring at the podium, if I look up, it really hits my eye.”
Biles then acknowledged she was moved.
“Because 10 years ago, I won my first worlds. Now we´re back here. So it was emotional,” she said. “It means everything to me, the fight, everything that I´ve put in to get back to this place, feel comfortable and confident enough to compete.”
Biles scored 58.399 points across the balance beam, floor, vault and uneven bars to beat Rebeca Andrade, the Brazilian defending champion, by 1.633 points. Biles´ U.S. teammate Shilese Jones took the bronze medal with 56.332 points.
It was Biles´ 27th world championship medal – and 21st gold. It came two days after the four-time Olympic gold medalist led the USwomen to a record seventh straight win in the team event.
She said the therapy sessions and the breathing and visualization exercises she has been doing on a regular basis since have helped her recover.
“I was so much more nervous for team finals because that´s when everything occurred (in Tokyo), so I was a little bit traumatized from that. So I felt a little bit more relaxed,” she said. “So I´m happy that that´s over.”
Biles now has 34 medals across the world championships and Olympics, making her the most decorated gymnast ever – male or female – at the sport´s two signature events ahead of the retired Vitaly Scherbo.
Her six all-around world titles also ties the all-time record,
“Every day I try to think about it, especially in therapy when we talk about it,” Biles said about her record-breaking achievements according to AP.
“And I think that´s when all the emotions come up. And I really think about what I´ve done and what we´ve done to the sport and push that forward. So I think it´s really exciting. But all in all, I don´t think it will hit me until I retire and then look back and see everything I´ve done.”
MCCLENAGHAN DEFENDS TITLE
In the men’s pommel horse final, Ireland’s Rhys McClenaghan defended his title to win gold ahead of American Khoi Young. Ahmad Abu Al Soud of Jordan took the bronze medal but missed out on automatic Olympic qualification.
Max Whitlock won gold at this event in 2015, 2017 and 2019, but the British three-time Olympic champion fell during his routine and ended up in fifth place.
Israel’s Artem Dolgopyat took gold in the men’s floor exercise final with a total score of 14.866, ahead of Japan’s Kazuki Minami, while Milad Karimi claimed the bronze medal for Kazakhstan.
The men’s rings final was the last event of the day, and Yang Liu of China won the gold medal with Eleftherios Petrounias of Greece taking silver and China’s Hao You winning the bronze medal.