Former Congresswoman Mary Bono quit her role as USA Gymnastics interim CEO amid pressure from Simone Biles, Aly Raisman and other U.S. gymnasts.
Only Simone Biles could upstage herself.
A day after becoming the first woman to win four all-around titles at the world gymnastics championships, Biles made more history Friday with a gold medal on vault. It was her 13th world title – yes, you read that right – which is more than any other gymnast, male or female, has won.
Oh, she also won her first medal on uneven bars, a silver, giving her at least one on every event in her career. That means she still has a shot to be the first woman since Romania’s Daniela Silivas at the 1988 Olympics to win six medals in a single competition.
Biles competes Saturday on floor exercise, where she’s the reigning Olympic champion and has won three world titles; and balance beam, where she’s a two-time world champion.
“I really wanted to come out here and redeem myself,” Biles said, “and I think I did that tonight.”
More: By winning world title on an ‘off’ day, Biles shows how great she really is
Biles was unhappy with herself after falling twice, on vault and balance beam, during Thursday’s all-around competition. She does such difficult routines that the falls didn’t matter – she beat Japan’s Mai Murakami by 1.693 points, her largest margin of victory at worlds – but Biles said afterward she didn’t feel as if she had “earned” the title.
“It’s not the gymnast that I am, to go out there and kind of bomb a meet like this,” Biles said Thursday night. “Even though I won, I wish it were a little bit different. Mai had such a good meet. It just sucks that I did so bad and I still won.”
That anger would fuel her in event finals, Biles said. Did it ever.
Though Biles had wanted another crack at the tough new vault she debuted in team qualifying – a roundoff with a half-twist onto the vaulting table and then a front double full somersault off – coach Laurent Landi talked her out of it. Despite her fall on it Thursday, she had nothing to prove, Landi said.
So Biles did an “easier” vault instead, a Cheng, which only has 1½ twists. She landed a little low and had to take a big step forward to steady herself, but she was only one of two gymnasts to even try it and still had the highest execution score of anyone in the final.
Her second vault was an Amanar, which used to be the Holy Grail of vaults. Biles also took a slight step on that one, but she finished with a score of 15.366, more than eight-tenths higher than silver medalist Shallon Olsen of Canada.
It was Biles’ first world title on vault, though she is the reigning Olympic champion on the event.
“How crazy,” she said.
Though she won silver on uneven bars, her finish was no less impressive.
Uneven bars used to be Biles’ worst event, and she joked that she once wanted to “chainsaw every bar in the country and in the world.” But Landi is as close to an uneven bars whisperer as there is in the sport – he also coached 2015 co-world champion Madison Kocian – and when he and Biles began working together last November he made improving that event a priority.
Asked if she would ever have imagined last fall that that work would result in a medal, Biles just laughed.
“I would have probably said I’m quitting. To even work and put that much effort into bars, I would have probably been like, ‘No, no thank you,’” she said. “I really put the work and the effort to bring up that event to the level with the others.”
Now her biggest problem is figuring out what to do with all these medals. She gave her gold from the team final to her parents, and the one from the all-around will go to Landi and his wife, Cecile. As for the vault one, Biles is considering keeping it – providing she can keep it away from her French bulldog, Lilo.
“Because she ruins everything,” Biles said.
The exact opposite of her owner, whose days at the world championships keep getting better.