Last weekend, my colleague Rebecca Fishbein correctly postulated that Simone Biles might be the greatest athlete of all time. A week later and Biles now has enough gold medals to prove she is absolutely the greatest gymnast of all time, just in case there were lingering doubts.
By winning a 24th gold medal for her balance beam performance at Sunday’s 2019 World Gymnastics Championships, 22-year-old Simone Biles broke the record for most world medals won by any gymnast, male or female. As if that weren’t enough, minutes later, Biles won a 25th gold medal for her floor exercise featuring a signature move that only Biles and Biles alone has been able to pull off, according to The Washington Post:
“Less than an hour later, she returned to the arena and won a 25th medal — a gold on floor exercise that included the eye-popping triple-twisting, double somersault that she alone has successfully landed in competition — to extend her record-setting tally.”
Last weekend, Biles made history for having not one but two moves named after her during the competition. The Biles is a double-double dismount off the balance beam. The Biles II is a double backflip with three twists. Today introduces a move called the Biles III, which is winning every possible award in your field before you’re legally old enough to rent a car.
The Post speculates that this is probably the Biles’s final world championship, so it’s lovely that she won her final medal for the event that closed the competition. The previous record, set by Vitaly Scherbo of Belarus and unbroken since the 1990s, was 23 medals.