Gymnastics

A Look Back at 2013 Worlds in Antwerp aka the Coming Out Party of Simone Biles

With 2015 Worlds for artistic gymnastics taking place at the end of the month in Glasgow, Scotland, I decided to do a flashback to the 2013 World Championships held in Antwerp, Belgium.

Here’s a look back at an article I wrote wrapping up the competition two years ago:

Texas Teen Simone Biles Makes History at Gymnastics World Championships

October 6, 2013

Last year, it was Gabby Douglas making history in London.  This year, Simone Biles made history in Antwerp, Belgium.

Biles, a 16-year old from Spring, Texas with incredible power and a mega-watt smile, took the artistic gymnastics world by storm this past week at the 2013 World Gymnastics Championships.

Although she announced her status as a contender at the P&G Championships in August by winning the national all-around title, no one could have foreseen the message she sent to the competition on Wednesday.

Biles not only qualified first to the all-around final ahead of her teammate and 2012 Olympic team member Kyla Ross, she also qualified to all four event finals.  That feat had not been accomplished since Shannon Miller did it back in 1991.

As if that wasn’t enough, Biles also got a skill named after her.  A double layout half out on floor exercise – two flips with the gymnast’s body completely stretched out plus a half twist on the second flip – will now be referred to as the “Biles” in the Code of Points (the gymnastics rulebook).

Despite her triumphs in qualifications, there were still lingering questions whether she could put together a solid performance when it mattered most.  After all, 2013 is Biles’ first year on the senior elite stage.

The answer to all those questions was a resounding “yes!” Biles hit all four of her routines to hold off Ross in Friday’s final to become the first African American all-around world champion. It’s the seventh women’s world all-around title for the U.S. in total. In fact, of the last 10 international all-around finals (World Championships and Olympic Games combined) U.S. women have won eight with eight different gymnasts.

Immediately after the competition Biles said, “It hasn’t sunken in yet (that I am the World champion). I am sure it will eventually, but we still have (event) finals so we can’t get too excited about it yet. But I know what I have done is a huge accomplishment and I am very happy.”

Event finals also went extremely well for Biles.  Over the weekend, she won three more medals: gold on floor exercise, a silver on vault behind teammate and 2012 Olympian McKayla Maroney, and a bronze on balance beam. She narrowly missed out on a fifth medal by finishing fourth on uneven bars.

“All the hard work has paid off (for Team USA),” Biles said after the competition concluded. “It is so exciting to be part of that. I cannot ask for anything more.”

Two years later, not much has changed — except the size of her trophy case. Simone is still rewriting the history books with a smile as the (seldom-challenged) standard-bearer of this quad.

Looking ahead to Glasgow, she’s going after a 3rd World all-around title, which would tie her with Russian great Svetlana Khorkina for the most won by a female gymnast. However, Simone would be the first to accomplish the feat in consecutive years.

She also can surpass Alicia (Sacramone) Quinn’s mark of most World Championship medals won by a female U.S. gymnast (10; Simone currently has 9). This would come two months after tying Kim Zmeskal-Burdette’s record of consecutive U.S. National Championships for women (3).

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