Biles plays down latest mark after US domination

Top: Nikita Nagornyy displaying his prowess on the high bar to seal the men's team gold for Russia, the first European country to win the title since 2001. Simone Biles celebrating with her US teammates Jade Carey and Sunisa Lee after clinching the f
Nikita Nagornyy displaying his prowess on the high bar to seal the men's team gold for Russia, the first European country to win the title since 2001. PHOTO: REUTERS
Top: Nikita Nagornyy displaying his prowess on the high bar to seal the men's team gold for Russia, the first European country to win the title since 2001. Simone Biles celebrating with her US teammates Jade Carey and Sunisa Lee after clinching the f
Simone Biles celebrating with her US teammates Jade Carey and Sunisa Lee after clinching the floor gold. PHOTO: REUTERS

STUTTGART • US gymnastics queen Simone Biles insisted that records were the last thing on her mind, even after clinching a record-extending 15th world title on Tuesday as the Americans won the women's team gold in Stuttgart.

"I never think of records. I just go out there and do what I came to do," said the 22-year-old.

She collected her 21st medal to become the most-decorated women's gymnast in history, taking her one clear of Russia's Svetlana Khorkina.

Biles also moved to within two medals of the all-time record held by Vitaly Scherbo of Belarus, a men's gymnastics star in the 1990s.

It was her fourth team title in an event the US have dominated for the last eight years, with their tally of 172.330 well ahead of Russia (166.529) and Italy (164.796).

"Every year it feels better and better, just because we're adding to the legacy (that we have)," she added. "It's just so surreal to come out here and end up on top."

She played a key role in a commanding performance by the US, topping three of the four apparatus - vault, balance beam and floor.

She earned a loud cheer for nailing the "Biles II" move, a triple-twisting double back on the floor, keeping her pre-championship promise to perform it in "every competition" in Stuttgart.

The Federation of International Gymnastics needs to give approval, though, before the move can be officially named as such.

Her huge tally of 15.333 led a US clean sweep in the floor exercise alongside Jade Carey and Sunisa Lee to hand the Americans gold.

"It's the best routine I've done this week so far, so it's really exciting," she said of her floor display.

Her other teammates Grace McCallum and Kara Eaker claimed team gold for the second time after being part of the same unit as Biles in Qatar last year.

"Sometimes, I wish there was somebody closer but, at the same time, I have to go up there and do what I came to do," said Biles. "I still get nervous, no matter how far ahead I am."

She is expected to add more medals to her dazzling tally as the favourite in the women's all-around final today and this weekend's apparatus finals.

Yesterday, Russia's men clinched their first team title, dethroning China to become the first European winners since Belarus in 2001.

They never missed a beat in posting a 261.726 score across six apparatus - just 0.997 more than China.

Needing 13.470 for gold ahead of their final routine on the high bar, European all-around champion Nikita Nagornyy produced a clinical display to finish with 14.466.

Japan, despite missing 21-time world medallist Kohei Uchimura through injury, retained their bronze with 258.159. The Americans were fourth, followed by Britain and Taiwan

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 10, 2019, with the headline 'Biles plays down latest mark after US domination'. Print Edition | Subscribe