Biles, Ross Go 1-2 at Worlds in Antwerp
(19 votes, average 3.89 out of 5)

American Simone Biles continued her recent rise to prominence by winning the 2013 world all-around title in Antwerp, Belgium, easily defeating compatriot Kyla Ross, 60.216-59.332. Russian Aliya Mustafina, who struggled in prelims, finished third with 58.856. The three medalists were the only gymnasts among the top-seeded group to compete without a fall on any apparatus.

Romanian Larisa Iordache, fourth, was in the hunt for a medal until she fell off balance beam on a roundoff-layout. And the Chinese duo of Yao Jinnan and Shang Chunsong both fell from beam as well. After hitting her Mo Salto on bars (but scoring 15.333, a tenth lower than her prelim routine), she missed her standing full on beam and finished fifth. Shang dropped off on a layout to place eighth. Mustafina corrected her problems on bars from day one and posted the second-best score of 15.233 on the event (Shaposhnikova-full; Pak to Stalder-Shaposhnikova-half).

Biles jumped to an early lead by scoring 15.85 for the only Amanar vault of the 24-gymnast field. She remained in first place after bars, where she connected her Weiler kip pirouette to a Maloney (she did not connect it in prelims), and hit the remainder of her routine (high full-in dismount) without issue (14.70). As first up on beam, Biles avoided any major wobbles and looked confident throughout, especially with her tucked full-in dismount from two flip-flops (14.433).

Drawn last to compete on beam, Ross calmly hit her set with only one slight wobble, and her 14.533 placed her just ahead of Biles, 44.990-44.983 after three rotations. Mustafina hit a clutch routine on beam with only one wobble, after her double turn (14.166), to grab third with only floor exercise to go.

Second up on floor, Mustafina did what she could to secure a medal. She hit her whip-whip-flip-flop double Arabian, which she missed in prelims, and looked poised and polished throughout (except for her loose triple twist third pass). Only after she completed her double tuck did she allow a smile of relief and satisfaction, knowing she had remained in the medals.

Iordache was faced with a tall order to pass Mustafina, and her 14.700 gave her 57.766, more than point out of third but 0.134 ahead of Yao in fifth. 2006 world champion Vanessa Ferrari of Italy hit all four events for sixth (56.732), and Swizterland's Giulia Steingruber showed excellent tumbling (layout full-in back-out) and vaulting (high rudi) to finish seventh.

The final two routines of the day, by Ross and Biles, were a fitting end to the meet. Ross showed the maturity and grace that would earn her the Longines Prize for Elegance minutes later, and scored 14.333 to rise above Mustafina. But she would need a fall from Biles to win the gold. The 16-year-old Biles, coached by Aimee Boorman, and Luis Brasesco at Bannon's Gymnastix in Houston, never looked better on her final routine. Grinning from start to finish, she made her difficult routine look like kid's play, mounting with a high tucked double-double, and following that with a stuck double layout-half, now called a Biles. After a 2.5 twist to high front layout, she dismounted with a tucked full-in that landed short, but she saved it with a big hop forward and an even bigger smile. Her 6.5 D-score on floor was her trump card (Ross had 5.7), and her 15.233 was more than enough for the gold.

Biles and Ross are the third U.S. pair to win gold and silver at the world championships, following Chellsie Memmel and Nastia Liukin in 2005, and Bridget Sloan and Rebecca Bross in 2009.

Like world champion Kohei Uchimura did yesterday, Biles rose well above the field, which is not easy with only four events. Something else she has in common with Uchimura, the first four-time world champion: she won her first world title in the post-Olympic year.

Comments (2)add comment

Toby Towson said:

Alphabet Dancer
Great article! Thank you. I missed the live stream and am happy to hear such good results for American women and also for Uchimura from Japan. smilies/smiley.gifsmilies/smiley.gif
October 05, 2013 | url
Votes: +1

Margaret said:

The Biles/Silivas/Mukhina
Biles and Ross both did awesome! I'm happy for Simone that she got the "Biles" named for her! Well done! Btw the tucked double-double is called the "Silivas". It's named for 1988 3 time Olympic Champion Daniela Silivas. She was the first to perform it at a major competition (the Olympics). The tucked full-in is called the "Mukhina" after the late great Yelena Mukhina the 1978 World Gymnastics Champion who performed it at the Strasbourg Worlds in '78.
October 05, 2013
Votes: +2

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