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American Gymnasts Defy All Odds
The United States decided which gymnasts to send for the World Championship, the outcome of the women’s team final seemed certain. For Americans, the gold medals practically felt inevitable because of their rigorous training and the extraordinary performance of their leader, Simone Biles. So, winning was just a hope.
The dominance of American women continued on Wednesday at the Sportpaleis, where they secured an unprecedented seventh consecutive team title at the World Championship. They had to overcome several mistakes and injuries, but their familiar cushion assured them a place on the podium.
The streak of American victories in the World Championship began in 2011, and now, with Biles leading five teams, the margin this year was narrower compared to the previous six victories. The United States (167.729) finished ahead of runner-up Brazil (165.530) by a margin of 2.199 points – still a significant gap in a sport that often separates competitors by tenths of a point, but a smaller division compared to America’s dominance in the recent past.
Biles said that while other groups of American gymnasts had enjoyed similar results at the World Championship, this team had “the most patience, the most courage, and the most fight, especially after everything that happened on the floor.” “…Throughout the day, we had a lot of different emotions in our heads, and it wasn’t the best day for Team USA.”
Key Highlights of the Women’s Team Final at the World Championship:
American women are the standard-bearers, but after Jacqueline Roberson injured her left foot during the warm-up for the first rotation on Wednesday, Lee Wong had to unexpectedly step in on vault and floor. Wong had to struggle with her balance beam routine. Biles, on the other hand, was solid as always, but her scores weren’t as high as they could have been because she chose not to attempt her most difficult vault, the Yurchenko double pike, and made a small mistake in her beam routine.
However, when it came to securing gold for the United States on floor exercise, Biles delivered her best performance. After facing disappointment at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics due to mental struggles, Biles has made a comeback on the international stage. On Wednesday, her tumbling passes on the difficult tumbling passes were precise and controlled. Posting a score of 15.166, her performance ensured that the Americans would end with a positive result.
This gold medal marks Biles’ 33rd world or Olympic medal, equaling the gymnastic record set by Vitaly Scherbo, who represented the Soviet Union, the Unified Team, and Belarus in the 1990s. By the end of the week, Biles might surpass Scherbo.
Biles said, “I think every time you become world champion, it feels a little bit different.” “I’m still in awe that I’m going. …It feels just as good as the first one, just because we broke the record. We came together. We fought.”
Team competitions can be unpredictable because all routines – and all mistakes – are counted towards the final score. Still, thanks to Biles’ commanding presence, the American women are so far ahead of their competitors that they enter as runaway favorites, with only a surprising collapse threatening their victory. Even Wednesday’s mistakes were not enough to jeopardize the team’s hopes of a gold medal.
The race for silver and bronze was more dramatic. Last year’s silver medalist, Great Britain, left the door open by omitting several vaults and Brazil, who had never won a medal at the World Championship or Olympics as a team, relied heavily on their star, current World All-Around Champion Rebeca Andrade. Her floor routine was excellent, and then she succeeded in her difficult vault to secure a historic silver medal for Brazil.
American men’s gymnastics won the silver medal at the World Championship
China, who finished in fourth place, was mostly on the podium throughout most of the competition, but a low-scoring vault in the final rotation allowed France to leapfrog them. The medal depended on Melanie de Jesus dos Santos, who trains at Biles’ family-owned club in Texas, and she delivered an excellent performance on the beam during the team’s final rotation. Her coach, Cecile Landi, who competed for France in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, was seen leaping with joy when De Jesus dos Santos secured the medal, which was France’s first as a team since 1950.
Afterwards, Biles played her role in preserving the American streak, spending her extraordinary moment. This competition may not have been a start-to-finish highlight reel for Americans, but as Suni Lee said, “We did what we had to do tonight.”
During the early years of the American streak, they were never more than three points ahead of the silver medalists. Last year’s margin was lower than usual (3.201 points) – when Jade Carey fell on beam and Biles did not return to competition – and this time it was even narrower.
In the past decade, American women have succeeded consistently with hit routines one after another in major competitions, emphasizing their dominance. But ending a volatile journey with a gold medal provides a different kind of optimism: it shows that Americans can make mistakes and still come out victorious. Even the mistakes on Wednesday were not enough to threaten the team’s hopes of a gold medal.