Simone Biles of the United States is officially the most accomplished gymnast in the world. On Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, at the World Championships in Germany, Biles took home her 24th and 25th world medals, both of them gold.
“I can’t be more thrilled with the performance that I put out at this world championships,” Biles said, as per Fox 59. But in response to her outstanding medal haul, the young athlete remained humble, saying, “I’m not a numbers person.”
Biles, 22, took home five of six possible gold medals in the FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Championships at Hanns Martin Schleyer Hall in Stuttgart, Germany. Biles came out on top in five competing rounds: team, all-around, vault, floor, and beam. On the uneven bars, she placed fifth.
Historically, the uneven bars are Biles’s weakest event. But “weak” for Biles is an equivocal term; in 2018, she still won a world silver for this event.
With the 25 medals that Biles has now accumulated from world championships, 19 of them gold, the young athlete made an impressive observation: “It’s older than my age, so I’m pretty thrilled with it,” she said, as per NPR.
Male Belarusian gymnast Vitaly Scherbo held on to the record for two decades, having amassed 23 world medals in the 1990s.
In perhaps her most outstanding performance at the 2019 World Championships, Biles’s floor routine included a triple-twisting double back move, ultimately earning the young athlete a score of 15.133 from the judges. Biles’s winning score was a full point higher than her second-place U.S. teammate Sunisa Lee.
“I’m second in the world after Simone Biles, and she’s obviously so amazing,” 16-year-old Lee later exclaimed. “To be second is super crazy. I don’t know how she’s been doing this for so long.”
Lee’s silver was her third medal of the championships, while Angelina Melnikova took the bronze medal in the floor category for Russia.
In beam, Biles walked away with gold despite opting for a simpler dismount than the “double-double” she performed to astounded crowds earlier in the championships.
This tricky dismount, nicknamed “the Biles” after the young gymnast debuted the move during the 2019 season, was ranked controversially by FIG, the international governing body for gymnastics. According to NPR, FIG decided just before the World Championships that the dismount was worth only one tenth of a point more than the same dismount with one fewer twist.
After widespread criticism, FIG released a statement claiming that the decision was made, in part, out of concern for gymnasts’ health and safety.
Biles, despite the move being one of her own, decided against performing the dismount during her beam routine. “It’s not worth the one-tenth [extra point]. I’m sorry, it’s just not,” she said, as per The Associated Press.
In beam, China took silver and bronze. Gymnast Liu Tingting scored 14.433, and Li Shijia scored 14.3.
Part of what people love about Biles is her relatability. “I was just another little kid on the block who used to run and jump around,” Biles, who started gymnastics quite unintentionally at the age of 6, told The Guardian.
“I was pretty young and I just knew that it was a lot of fun and I wanted to do it,” she adds. “I wouldn’t say that I’m lucky, but, if you look at it, there are hundreds of thousands of gymnasts in the U.S. and only four will make a team. So it’s almost like playing the lottery. You just never know.”
Biles hasn’t confirmed whether she will continue to compete after the 2020 Olympics. But blowing kisses to the crowd, as she did after winning five gold medals in Stuttgart, did not signify “goodbye.”
“It’s just a good floor routine, ‘farewell’ to just the end of this world championship chapter here in Stuttgart,” Biles reassured her fans.