On Sunday, October 8th, Simone Biles, the gymnastics superstar, made a spectacular return after a two-year hiatus, securing her 21st world title with an all-around gold at the world gymnastics championships in Antwerp, Belgium. Notably, Biles won her first all-around world title as a 16-year-old in Antwerp a decade ago and has now accumulated a total of 27 world medals and six all-around titles, including 21 golds. She led the United States women’s team to their seventh consecutive team title on Wednesday, October 4th.
Her total medal count across the world championships and Olympics now stands at 34, making her the most decorated gymnast ever, surpassing Belarusian Vitaly Scherbo’s record of 33 medals.
The gold won by Biles on the floor routine is her 23rd world championship gold medal and was also the second gold of the day, having won the beam competition earlier in the day. After a “disappointing” day by her standards on Saturday – winning silver and finishing fifth in other finals in the world gymnastics championships – the Biles went on to win her third gold medal of this year’s world championships.
When discussing her return to Antwerp where she opened her world tally in 2013, winning four medals, including two golds, Biles said, “I was emotional because 10 years ago I won my first worlds and now we’re back here.” She continued, “It means everything to me, after everything I’ve put in to get back to this place to feel comfortable and confident enough to compete.”
Biles has made a breathtaking comeback to the sport since the Tokyo Olympics in which she withdrew from four of the five finals after suffering from what in the sport is known as “twisties” which is a temporary mental block whereby gymnasts lose their sense of where they are in the air, which is incredibly dangerous and can cause life-altering injuries.
Biles, having secured four more gold medals and one silver medal, seems to be taking the gymnastics world by storm again, becoming the most decorated female or male gymnast ever.