Biles on verge of history after record-equalling 23rd world medal

STUTTGART (Germany): US gymnastics queen Simone Biles equalled the all-time record of 23 world championship medals on Saturday but insisted she had little time to reflect on her astonishing feat with two more finals still to come.

The 22-year-old Biles needs one more medal from yesterday’s beam and floor finals in Stuttgart to overtake Belarusian gymnast Vitaly Scherbo.

“I don’t have time to think about these things. I think of my performances – and then dinner,” Biles told AFP when asked about equalling Scherbo’s record from the 1990s.

Biles took her third gold of the week — after all-around and team success — in the vault final ahead of US team-mate Jade Carey, who finished with silver while Britain’s Ellie Downie took bronze.

US Simone Biles performs on the uneven bars during the apparatus finals on Saturday. Photo: AFP

“I was just happy to land it very well,” said Biles after her second vault confirmed victory. “Because in practice… I was always overshooting, so I was pleased to have a nice, peaceful landing.”

Biles, a four-time Olympic champion, stretched her own record tally of world titles to 17 and can potentially leave Stuttgart with five medals. Biles later missed the chance of a second medal on Saturday, finishing fifth in the uneven bars final behind winner Nina Derwael of Belgium, who retained the title she won in Doha last year.

“I’m excited with the performances I put out today, obviously no medal on the bars, but there was (only) a slim chance I was going to (get one),” admitted Biles.

The US star is “99.9 percent” sure this will be her last world championships, but gives little thought to potentially making history on Sunday.

“I just keep a clear head going into all the finals,” she said.

“I try to think of it one at a time, cherish the moment, compete with pride and just have fun.”

Britain’s Becky Downie, 27, took silver on the uneven bars behind Derwael, less than two hours after younger sister Ellie, 20, earned bronze behind Biles on the vault. – AFP