American gymnast Simone Biles won her fifth all-around title at the World Gymnastics Championships on Thursday in Stuttgart, Germany, polishing off the competition with a stellar floor routine appropriately punctuated by a mic drop.
Biles won her 22nd worlds medal and her 16th gold, the latter of which is a record. She now sits just one away from tying Belarusian Vitaly Scherbo’s record for most overall medals by a male or female. She already holds the record for most individual titles by a woman, as the previous mark was three.
Biles turned in a typically spectacular performance and won the all-around title by a comfortable 2.100-point margin, the largest of any of her five world titles. She took first in the vault, balance beam and floor segments, and will have the opportunity to surpass Scherbo’s mark this weekend. She competes in four event finals on Saturday and Sunday.
The 22-year-old Texan, likely competing in her final worlds, also led the United States to their seventh-consecutive team title on Tuesday. She is expected to retire after the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo but remains the overwhelming favorite after her performance in Stuttgart this week. Gymnasts rarely compete at the world championship level for two Olympic cycles, but Biles bucked that trend and has won the all-around at every world championship she attended.
China’s Tang Xijing, standing in for an injured teammate, finished second in the all-around while Russia’s Angelina Melnikova took third. However, all eyes were on Biles, who employed original moves of her own creation to put plenty of distance between her and the competition. The FIG Women’s Technical Committee gave those maneuvers lower scores to discourage other gymnasts from attempting such dangerous moves, but Biles still blew the field away.
With the Olympics now on the horizon, Biles can become the first woman since Vera Caslavska in 1964 and 1968 to win back-to-back Olympic gold medals in the all-around. It would be an unprecedented accomplishment in the world of modern gymnastics.