There was very little doubt that American superstar Simone Biles was going to win the women’s All-Around at the World Artistic Championships in Stuttgart (GER), but she still had to do it.
She won the Vault at 15.233, performed well on the Uneven Bars at 14.733 – third best in the field – then won the Beam with 14.633 before heading to the Floor. Her unmatched tumbling power sent her out of bounds on her first pass, and again on the final pass. But she was sensational and had the crowd mesmerized, scoring 14.400 and winning with a total of 58.999.
How good was that? It’s historic:
● She won by 2.100 points, the most she has ever won by; her prior high was the 2018 Worlds in Doha (QAT) was a 1.693 margin, and it’s the most ever with the current scoring system, installed in 2006;
● It could have been even more, as she scored higher in the Team final in Vault (15.400) and Floor (15.333);
● She had the top scores in the field in Vault, Beam and Floor and was third in Bars, indicating a good possibility of another six-for-six medal performance, as she had in 2018;
● Biles won her fifth Worlds A-A title, something no one else has ever done; the next closest is Svetlana Khorkina (RUS), who won three times between 1997-2003;
● With the win, a U.S. gymnast has now won the last seven Worlds All-Arounds in a row, with five for Biles, starting with Jordyn Wieber in 2011 and also Morgan Hurd in 2017.
While Biles was writing history, a tremendous battle for second was going in between Xijing Tang of China (who replaced Tingting Liu), Angelina Melnikova (RUS), Ellie Black (CAN) and Nina Derwael of Belgium.
The 16-year-old Tang had scored only 53.498 in the qualifying, including a fall on Beam, but she was much better on three events in the Team final and excellent in the All-Around. Only 16th on Vault (14.166), she finished with a 14.533 on Bars for fourth, was second to Biles on Beam at 14.600 and was a solid sixth on Floor (13.600) to finish with the silver at 56.899. Very impressive, and with a lot of room for growth.
Melnikova had medal hopes, having been fourth in the qualifying at 56.599. Competing in the same group with Biles, American Suni Lee and Tang, she had the same Vault score as in qualifying (14.433: 13th), then had trouble on the Bars and scored only ninth-best at 13.900. But she had her best score on Beam (14.000: 4th) and was third-best on the Floor (14.066) to total 56.399 and won the bronze medal over Canada’s Black (56.232).
Lee had been the no. 2 scorer in the All-Around qualifying (57.166) and started off well, scoring 14.466 on Vault, just a tenth less than in the qualifying. But a fall on Bars doomed her – she scored 13.133 (19th) vs. 15.000 before – ten rebounded with a 13.833 on Beam vs. 13.400 in qualifying and posted the same Floor score for a total of 55.632, placing her eighth.
Worth noting, however, was that her Floor score was no. 2 overall, behind Biles.
The men’s All-Around will be on Friday, followed by the apparatus finals over the weekend. Summaries so far:
FIG Artistic World Championships
Stuttgart (GER) ~ 4-13 October 2019
(Full results here)
Team: 1. Russia (Ablyazin, Belyavskiy, Dalaloyan, Nagornyy, Stretovich), 261.726; 2. China (Deng, Lin, Sun, Xiao, Zou)), 260.729; 3. Japan (Hashimoto, Kamoto, Kaya, K. Tanigawa, W. Tanigawa)), 258.159; 4. United States (Sam Mikulak, Akash Modi, Yul Moldauer, Trevor Howard, Shane Wiskus), 254.578; 5. Great Britain, 251.611; 6. Chinese Taipei, 248.243; 7. Switzerland, 247.038; 8. Ukraine, 246.593.
Team: 1. United States (Simone Biles, Jade Carey, Kara Eaker, Sunisa Lee, Grace McCallum), 172.330; 2. Russia (Agafonova, Akhaimova, Melnikova, Shchekoldina, Spiridonova), 166.529; 3. Italy (Carofiglio, Alice D’Amato, Asia D’Amato, Iorio, Villa), 164.796; 4. China, 164.230; 5. France, 163.628; 6. Great Britain, 161.495; 7. Canada, 160.563; 8. Netherlands, 159.427.
All-Around: 1. Simone Biles (USA), 58.999; 2. Xijing Tang (CHN), 56.899; 3. Angelina Melnikova (RUS), 56.399; 4. Ellie Black (CAN), 56.232; 5. Nina Derwael (BEL), 56.033; 6. Elisabeth Seitz (GER), 55.999; 7. Flavia Saraiva (BRA), 55.732; 8. Suni Lee (USA), 55.632.