Simone Biles continued to stake her claim as one of the most dominant athletes of her generation as she bulldozed all competition to win her fifth world championships individual all‑around gold medal with a score of 58.999 in Stuttgart. The 22-year-old American won with a cushion of 2.1 points, her biggest at a world all-around event, as Tang Xijing of China claimed silver and Russia’s Angelina Melnikova took bronze.
“It means the world to me,” Biles said. “For my fifth, that’s kind of unheard of, so it was really exciting. But we finished strong and we gave it our all. It’s super exciting we had the opportunity to do this.”
One year ago Biles fell twice in the all-around final and left the arena seething despite her clear victory. She seems to have learned from those mistakes. Instead of opting for all of the risky, mind-blowing skills she has written into gymnastics history in the past two years, she decided to play things relatively safe. The greatest measure of Biles’s dominance is that her version of “safe” is still far beyond what any of her rivals could dream of.
Biles opened her competition with the Cheng vault – a round-off, half twist on to the table with one and a half twists off, a half twist less than her eponymous vault, on which she fell last year. Despite landing with a foot slightly out of bounds, Biles flew high and far with supreme form and a small hop, immediately establishing her lead with a monstrous score of 15.233.
As medal contenders fell all around, Biles stepped up and produced a clean, assured uneven bars set, finishing with a stuck double-double dismount, a big score of 14.733 and a beaming smile. There was a time when the uneven bars were consistently Biles’s weaker piece, but with each passing year she improves a little more.