Gymnastics: Biles piles on the smiles with 13th gold

The gold that got away from Simone Biles was won by Nina Derwael (above), whose high-energy, uneven bars routine secured a score of 15.200 to make her Belgian's first world champion.
The gold that got away from Simone Biles was won by Nina Derwael (above), whose high-energy, uneven bars routine secured a score of 15.200 to make her Belgian's first world champion.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

DOHA (Qatar) • Simone Biles had to settle for second for once - in her weakest apparatus, the uneven bars - but she still made history by becoming the first American to win a world championship medal in every event.

Earlier on Friday, she became the gymnast with the most gold medals, 13, when she won handily even though she did not perform her new trademark vault nicknamed The Vault That Will Be Known As Biles. Her coach said she had nothing to prove despite an error on Thursday, causing her to sit on landing in the all-around final.

Still, the 21-year-old, who has delayed treatment for a kidney stone problem, scored 15.366 points with her second vault, more than eight-tenths higher than silver medallist Shallon Olsen.

Before yesterday's floor final, she had 19 medals in total after adding a bronze in the balance beam event won by China's Liu Tingting, just one shy of the record 20 held by Russia's Svetlana Khorkina.

Her medals were the only ones the United States won on a day when history was made across the competition at Doha's Aspire Dome:

•Olsen won Canada's first world championships medal.

•Alexa Moreno became the first female Mexican to win a medal, a bronze in the vault.

•Carlos Yulo of the Philippines (bronze, floor) and Lee Chih-kai of Chinese Taipei (bronze, pommel horse) also became their country's first medallists.

Biles, already the all-around and team gold medallist, also made a breakthrough of her own in the bars as she won her first Olympic or world medal in the apparatus.

The American, who took last year off, outshone a field of specialists that included Russia's 2016 Olympic champion Aliya Mustafina, who was fifth.

But she was unable to overhaul Nina Derwael, whose high-energy, high-risk routine secured a score of 15.200 to make her Belgian's first world champion.

Biles, who finished fourth at her first world championships in 2013 but never became as good as in the other three apparatus, scored 14.700 ahead of German Elisabeth Seitz's 14.600. Her work with the noted bars coach Laurent Landi is continuing to reap dividends; she also won the event for the first time at the US championships.

In the men's events, the most nail-biting finish came in the pommel horse.

China's Xiao Ruoteng took gold despite scoring the same, 15.1665, as Max Whitlock from Britain. He won despite having a less difficult routine, by scoring higher with judges on the execution marks.

Xiao was also involved in a tiebreaker on Wednesday, when the defending all-around champion lost his title to the Russian Artur Dalaloyan. The latter added the men's floor title on Friday.

But the bravest performance of the day belonged to Greece's Eleftherios Petrounias. Due for surgery on his left shoulder next week, the defending rings champion scored 15.366 to edge out long-time rival, Brazil's Arthur Zanetti, by 0.266.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 04, 2018, with the headline 'Biles piles on the smiles with 13th gold'. Print Edition | Subscribe