Simone Biles is taking gymnastics to a new level.
It’s not just about the medal haul – though that alone solidifies her case as the greatest gymnast of all time. It’s also how she’s doing it.
Biles, 22, doesn’t just win at gymnastics meets. She dominates them. It brings to mind sports giants like Serena Williams, Tom Brady, Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt.
At the world championships in Stuttgart, Germany, Biles extended her undefeated streak in the all-around, which dates back to 2013. But what’s even more jaw-dropping is that she did it by 2.1 points, making it her largest ever margin of victory at the world championships.
And get this: Even with a mistake of stepping out of bounds three times on floor exercise, one of her strongest events, Biles’ lead still increased by almost a full point.
Then came the individual events.
On Saturday, Biles won the vault by more than half a point, averaging 15.399 for her two attempts. On Sunday, her score on floor, a 15.133, was a full point ahead of second place, and her win on the balance beam with a score of 15.066 was six-tenths of a point better than the runner-up.
“I really don’t know how I do it sometimes,” Biles said, according to the USA Gymnastics website. “Sometimes I wonder how I do it. I feel like it’s just like not me. I wish I could have an out-of-body experience to witness it because sometimes I think I’m going crazy.”
Biles is redefining gymnastics. She wows crowds and teammates alike with her power, focus and confidence. She has multiple moves named after her that like tongue twisters are hard enough to say let alone perform gymnastically. Two of the latest ones are a triple twisting double tuck on floor and a double twisting double tuck dismount off the beam.
She’s won the most gold medals at a single Olympics, with four in Rio in 2016. She has 19 world titles. She’s the most decorated American gymnast of all time.
And now, she’s the most decorated gymnast in the world championships’ history, winning her 24th and 25th medals to surpass Belarusian Vitaly Scherbo (23) for the all-time mark.
So it all seems fitting that Biles dropped the mic at the end of her floor routine earlier in the week when she became the first woman to win five all-around titles at the world championships.
This likely was her last worlds – Biles has previously said she’s retiring after 2020 – but she’s not done quite yet. She is planning to compete in the Olympics in Tokyo next year, where she is sure to be, despite her height of 4 feet, 8 inches, the biggest athlete in any sport to watch.
Biles is better now than she was in 2016. And this comes after taking a year off from the sport. It comes after she revealed she had been abused by Larry Nassar. It comes after becoming the became the first woman in three decades to medal in all six events at the 2018 world championships – while she was battling a kidney stone.
“With big champions, it’s all in between the ears, it’s nothing physical,” her coach Laurent Landi said, per the USA Gymnastics website.
“I know we talk about the physical abilities,” he continued, “but without this,” while tapping his head, “she would not be capable of doing what she does.”