Almost like déjà vu, it happened again. The second podium of the World Cup in Antwerp (Belgium) was once again dyed in American blue, white and red. Although this time with a gold flavor. For the seventh consecutive time, the United States (167,729) was proclaimed world champion in women’s artistic gymnastics teams. There were no rivals for them. And even less so for Simone Biles. She debuted on vault, and finished on the floor. The two specialties of her, if any device escapes her. She started off seriously, but her smile emerged as the final progressed: she was about to equal the number of world and Olympic medals of the Belarusian Vitaly Scherbo (33), and she knew it. Chaos and failures reigned in the final, in which Japan and Great Britain, missing and erratic, deflated and moved away from the podium, close until the last rotation. The silver went to Brazil (165,530), with France (164,064) closing the podium and followed by China (163,162), Italy (162,997), Great Britain (161,864), the Netherlands (159,563) and Japan (157,496).
The gymnasts greeted the massive crowd at the Antwerps Sportpaleis. Although there were plenty of presentations for athletes like Rebeca Andrade, last year’s world champion, Shilese Jones or Melanie Dos Santos. Fans wanted more after the Japan men’s team’s victory the day before. And, on the ground, flamenco music played for the French veteran Marine Boyer, kicking off the final.
There was no trace of the car accident that forced the American Shilese Jones to have ankle surgery. Jones began the rotation on vault with a 14.100, while Great Britain, with whom she shared the apparatus, faced her with a 14.166 from Ondine Achampong. The British were fighting to surpass the silver from the previous year hand in hand with their greatest rival. But then came Simone Biles, who was lost in the air with a Yurchenko with a double twist, although she managed to save it before landing to score a 14,800. This time, she was more serious. Without smiling.
On uneven bars, China’s Qiu Qiyuan, the only woman to surpass Biles in classification, dethroned Rebeca Andrade, who did her thing and nailed the landing. And without expecting it, chaos and failures reigned in the final stretch of the first rotation. An expert jumper like the British Jessica Gadirova failed to land and fell forward, while Shoko Miyata, just at the end of her floor exercise, at the last second, on the last diagonal, fell on her face. Brazil benefited from the errors, and placed third, with China leading and the United States guarding its back.
Japan failed again on jump. And the possibility of coming back disappeared. The Netherlands enjoyed the final without looking at the results and Italy scored little by little. Meanwhile, the pressure was on a Great Britain that was fighting on uneven bars with Biles, who regained her smile by scoring a 14.466. The current asymmetrical world runner-up, Jones, was not wrong, increasing the difference with the rest of the countries and taking the gold. France, in the shadows, took advantage of the British’s failures and placed itself on the podium behind the United States and China, both unreachable with two rotations remaining.
Andrade exceeded the regulation time on the balance beam, and was penalized, but on the floor she delighted with a routine that earned her a 14.666. Great Britain did not recover from its mistakes, and ended up sinking in sixth position against a France that celebrated exercise after exercise, with which they achieved a hard-fought third place thanks to Melanie Dos Santos’s routine on the bar. China could not beat the Olympic vault champion Andrade, who scored a 14.900, and settled for fourth place.
👑If it didn’t exist… We would have to invent it!
🤸♀️Simone Biles (@Simone_Biles) returns through the big door in Antwerp and achieves his first gold medal in this World Cup with the USA in the team competition
— Teledeporte (@teledeporte) October 4, 2023
Biles slid down the balance beam and nailed the exit, with what was already her palace in silence, watching her and seeing her 14,300. But he put the final cherry on the ground. It was the last exercise. In her hand, the gold medal. And he grabbed her, with a 15,166, she smiled and looked up at the sky. Simone Biles and the United States were world champions again. In her last world championship, in 2019, she won five gold medals. At the moment, one is already hanging from her neck.
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