American Simone Biles wins World Gymnastics Championships all-around title
Nick Zaccardi Oct 4, 2013, 3:56 PM EDT
The world’s best female gymnast is Simone Biles, a 16-year-old Texan with braces who beat a field of Olympians to win the world all-around title in her first major international meet.
Biles, the 2013 U.S. all-around champion, scored 60.216 points, coming from behind after three of four rotations to overtake teammate Kyla Ross, who had 59.332 points.
Russian Aliya Mustafina, the 2010 world all-around champion, won bronze with 58.856 in Antwerp, Belgium, on Friday.
Ross, the youngest member of the 2012 U.S. Olympic champion team, led by a tiny .016 of a point going into the final rotation, floor exercise.
Biles had a huge advantage over Ross going into that event, outscoring her by .7 in qualifying and .45 and .8 at the U.S. Championships in August.
It would have been a shock if Biles didn’t pass Ross on the final event. She delivered a 15.233 after Ross posted a 14.333 to become the seventh U.S. woman to win a world all-around title.
“It feels pretty good, but it hasn’t really sunken in yet, but I know what I’ve done is a big accomplishment,” Biles said in a video interview posted by USA Gymnastics.
The World Championships conclude with apparatus finals this weekend, including McKayla Maroney on vault Saturday.
Biles received a big boost on her opening event, vault. She performed an Amanar, which carried an extra half-twist and a half-point higher start value than the vaults of Ross and Mustafina. Biles led by nearly a half-point over Ross and almost a full point over Mustafina after the first rotation.
Kyla (and Kohei Uchimura, Men's AA winner) also won the Longines Price For Elegance (I don't know if keeping the watch and the 5K goes against NCAA rules though) and Phillipp Boy kissed her on the cheek so she's probably not too sad about silver lol.
Though Ross outscored Biles on the next two apparatus, uneven bars and balance beam, she needed a much bigger advantage going into floor exercise to have a chance at gold.
Over the last 10 years, 10 different female gymnasts have been the highest-placing American at the World Championships or Olympics. This speaks to the extraordinary turnover in a sport where the last three U.S. Olympic teams were all rookies.
Biles could very well still be on top next year. She’s young enough to still be on the rise, and the top two U.S. juniors from this year are too young to enter senior competitions in 2014. And who knows what form Gabby Douglas, Aly Raisman and Jordyn Wieber will be in if and when they return.
But what about 2016? Biles must show staying power not seen in women’s gymnastics in the last two Olympic cycles. In 2005, Chellsie Memmel won the World Championship, but injuries kept her from being an all-arounder at the 2008 Olympics.
In 2009, Bridget Sloan and Rebecca Bross went one-two at the World Championships. Neither made the 2012 Olympic team.
Simone Biles, FX:
Kyla Ross, BB:
Aliya Mustafina, UB:
McKayla Maroney grabs some redemption by winning World Championships vault title
McKayla Maroney defended her vault title at the World Championships in Antwerp, Belgium, on Saturday. It was the same event she won silver on at the Olympics, where she entered as the favorite and became famous for her “not impressed” face on the podium.
Maroney, 17, stuck her first vault, a high-flying Amanar, for 15.966 points, though she came a bit off balance in saluting. It was the highest-scoring vault of the competition.
She had a bit of a delay before being able to perform her second vault. No matter, she scored a 15.483 for a 15.724 average to beat teammate Simone Biles for gold by .129 of a point. Biles (15.595) picked up her second medal of the meet, coupling the silver with all-around gold. North Korea’s Hong Un Jong earned bronze with a two-vault average of 15.483.
“To be completely honest, it was kind of scary,” Maroney said in a video interview published by USA Gymnastics. “There definitely was some pressure on me.
“Looking back isn’t going to help you. Moving forward is the thing you have to do.”
The Olympic gold medalist ahead of Maroney in London, Romania’s Sandra Izbasa, did not compete in Saturday’s final.
An American has won women’s vault at four straight World Championships (Kayla Williams (2009), Alicia Sacramone (2010)).
Maroney came back from a fractured tibia suffered at a post-Olympics gymnastics tour in September with a goal of defending her championship from 2011.
“A lot of people didn’t really believe in me,” Maroney said. “They kind of thought it was a fakey comeback because a lot of gymnasts have kind of done that before.”
Uzbekistan’s Oksana Chusovitina, 38, finished fifth. She competed at the 1991 World Championships for the Soviet Union and owns nine World Championship vault medals, including 2011 silver.
“I was trying not to cry,” Maroney said of being on the podium.
Maroney also competed in the all-around at the World Championships, where she did not qualify for the 24-woman final because two Americans finished ahead of her in qualifying.
Maroney’s World Championships are over, but her career is most certainly not.
Women’s Vault Results
Gold: McKayla Maroney (USA) 15.724
Silver: Simone Biles (USA) 15.595
Bronze: Hong Un Jong (PRK) 15.483 (didn't do the TTY so the name is still up for grabs!)
4. Giulia Steingruber (SUI) 15.233
5. Oksana Chusovitina (UZB) 14.583
6. Thi Ha Thanh Phan (VIE) 14.299
7. Yamilet Pena Abreu (DOM) 13.966
8. Chantysha Netteb (NED) 6.950
Biles’ pursuit of medals in all five events at worlds ended when Mustafina, the all-around bronze medalist, pushed her off the podium.
Still, Ross’ second silver of worlds put the U.S. in position to become the first nation to win a gold or silver in every event for one gender at a World Championships since 1992.
In 1992, the Commonwealth of Independent States (former Soviet Republics) men’s team accomplished the feat.
Ross and Biles are both qualified for the final two events Sunday — balance beam and floor exercise.
Women’s Uneven Bars
Gold: Huang Huidan (CHN) 15.4
Silver: Kyla Ross (USA) 15.266
Bronze: Aliya Mustafina (RUS) 15.033
4. Simone Biles (USA) 14.716
5. Sophie Scheder (GER) 14.683
6. Yao Jinnan (CHN) 14.633
7. Ruby Harrold (GBR) 14.333
8. Rebecca Downie (GBR) 13.8
Martha "I hate little Chinese girls" Karolyi
NBCSPORTS: 1//2//facebook.com/usagymnastics//watch the rest of the routines here