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Biles Leads the U.S. To Fifth Straight World Title
(5 votes, average 4.20 out of 5)

In an error filled-competition, Simone Biles led the United States to their fifth straight world championships title in Stuttgart, Germany. Biles competed on all four events for the team and posted the highest scores of the competition on VT-15.4 (Cheng), BB-14.443 (full twisting double tuck dismount) and FX-15.333 (triple twisting double tuck mount) to help the U.S. total 172.330 for their fifth title in a row. The U.S. team had to count falls on bars (Grace McCallum-toe full) and beam (Sunisa Lee-ff-ff layout two feet), but the rest of the performances were on point and with plenty of difficulty and poise. Lee earned the highest bar score for USA at 14.733/6.4 (Nabieva to Pak to Maloney to Bhardwaj). Jade Carey contributed big scores on vault (15.166) and floor (14.333), while Kara Eaker posted a worthy 14.0/6.0 for her difficult beam routine.  With her first gold medal in Stuttgart, Biles made history by earning her 21st medal from world championships, surpassing Russian legend Svetlana Khorkina who has a total of 20 world medals.

The Russian team defended their silver medal from a year ago in Doha posting 166.529. The team began on bars and earned the highest total of the day on the event (43.665), but then had two falls on the next event, beam. Strong floor and vault rotations by Angelina Melnikova and Lilia Akhaimova helped the team climb up in the rankings for a second consecutive team silver medal.

Italy was the Cinderella team of the competition and earned the bronze medal with 164.796. With four first year seniors on the squad the Italian team qualified in 8th place to the final. But with nearly perfect competition led by their strongest all-arounder, Giorgia Villa, the team won the bronze, their first team medal since 1950. “I am so proud of these warriors. I told them before beam: do great gymnastics, don’t worry about falling”, head coach Enrico Casella said after the competition. The Italian team suffered multiple falls on beam during qualifications, and had to end the competition on that event during the final. Their last gymnast Elisa Iorio fell on her mount (round off layout step out) but the team had established enough lead to be able to hold on to the third place finish. Italy was particularly impressive on bars where their three routines tied the score of the U.S for second best of the day, and vault where they competed three double twisting Yurchenko vaults.

Finishing in disappointing fourth was China scoring 164.230. The Chinese began on vault and managed to hit three double twisting Yurchenko vaults. But on bars Liu Tingting fell off twice on her Healy move, and then had another fall on beam (front handspring front), which distanced the team from the top contenders. The Chinese rallied to compete strong on floor but it wasn’t enough to catch the Italians.

After nearly a perfect qualifying round France started the competition with two falls on bars by Claire Pontlevoy (piked Jaeger and double front dismount) and then a fall on beam by team leader Melanie dos Santos crushed their hopes for a team medal. Sixth was Great Britain who had to count falls on floor and bars. Becky Downie eanred the top score of the day on bars at 14.9/6.5.  The teams from Canada and Netherlands finished in seventh and eighth place respectively.

The world championships continue tomorrow with the compelling men’s team final competition.

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