Simone Biles won a record 21st medal at the world gymnastics championships on Tuesday as the United States retained their women’s team all-around title.
Biles’ 15th career gold medal brings her a total of 21 medals, breaking a tie with the Russian gymnast Svetlana Khorkina for the most medals by a woman at the world championships. She’s now two short of Vitaly Scherbo’s all-time record among men or women of 23.
“Every year it feels better and better just because we’re adding to the legacy,” Biles said. “I feel like I never think of records. I just go out there and do what I came to do, which is compete for the country.”
The US team scored 172.330 points to beat second-placed Russia by 5.801 points and win their seventh consecutive team title at an Olympics or world championships. According to NBC, it’s the longest global title streak for a women’s gymnastics program since the Soviet Union in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.
Biles, the prohibitive favorite in Thursday’s individual all-around final, qualified for all four event finals. Additionally, she posted the best individual scores on the vault, balance beam and floor. “I think if I do the routine that I did tonight I’ll be more than happy” on Thursday, she said.
A fall for Sunisa Lee on the balance beam in her world championship debut and a fumbled routine from Grace McCallum on the uneven bars left the US with room for improvement, though both were strong on other apparatus. “It’s just so surreal to come out here and end up on top with the strength of the team that we have, even after having a couple falls out there,” Biles said.