Simone Biles wins 20th world championship title, first since 2019, as comeback continues

For the first time in four years, Simone Biles is a world champion.

The gymnast led Team USA to a team title at the 2023 World Gymnastics Championships on Wednesday in Antwerp, marking her first world title since she won five events at the 2019 meet in Stuttgart. It is Biles’ 20th gold medal and 26th medal overall, further cementing her as the most decorated gymnast in history.

Biles and Shilese Jones competed in every apparatus, while Leanne Wong and Skye Blakely filled out the team in the final. Brazil earned silver, and France took bronze.

The U.S. has now won an unprecedented seven straight women’s team titles in the world championships. The last time a country other than the U.S. won the event was 2010, when Russia took the title.

Biles posted a 14.800 in the vault (despite not attempting her most difficult skill), a 14.466 in the uneven bars, a 14.300 in the balance beam and a 15.166 in the floor exercise, with the latter clinching the title for the Americans. Those numbers bear out to a total score of 58.732.

For comparison, Biles won the 2019 world individual all-around title in 2019 with a total score of 58.999. The silver medalist that year had a 56.899.

The performance emphasizes what has been increasingly clear since Biles returned to competition this summer: She is once again at the height of her powers, even after her struggles at the 2020 Olympics and a two-year hiatus from the sport.

Biles is nowhere close to finished in Antwerp, either, as she qualified for the finals in every apparatus and will compete for her record-extending sixth world all-around title.

ANTWERP, BELGIUM - October 04: Simone Biles of the United States reacts after performing her floor routine to clinch the gold medal for her team during the Women's Team Final at the Artistic Gymnastics World Championships-Antwerp 2023 at the Antwerp Sportpaleis on October 4th, 2023 in Antwerp, Belgium. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)

Simone Biles has her 20th world title. She could have as many as 25 by the end of the world championships. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images) (Tim Clayton – Corbis via Getty Images)

Medals aside, Biles made her mark in the history books by landing the Yurchenko double pike in the vault Sunday, which means the skill will be officially named after her now that she has landed it in international competition.

It is the fifth skill to be named after Biles.

Biles returned to competition in August, with a dominant performance at the U.S. Classic, then took home a record eighth all-around title at the U.S. Championships. Prior to that, she spent two years working on herself, including seeking therapy and marrying Green Bay Packers defensive back Jonathan Owens.

Once the world championships are over, the next step for Biles will be the 2024 Olympics in Paris, with a chance to right what went wrong in Tokyo. Biles entered the 2020 Games (held in 2021) as the overwhelming favorite to win a second straight all-around gold medal but instead struggled with the “twisties.” Biles dropped out of the team competition after balking on the vault and didn’t return until the final individual event, the balance beam, in which she won bronze.

Biles has already made very clear that she intends to compete at the 2024 Olympics, and she figures to again be one of the most-followed athletes in the world as the athletes converge in Paris.