Americans take top spots at gymnastics world championship
By Raf Casert, APANTWERP, Belgium -- Sixteen-year-old Simone Biles made everyone forget the United States came to the world championships without the defending and Olympic champions, beating teammate Kyla Ross in a nail-biting finish to win the all-around gold medal on Friday.
October 6, 2013, 12:08 am TWN
Biles and Ross were neck-and-neck throughout the evening, with Ross matching Biles' athleticism and power with grace and elegance, leaving it to the concluding floor exercise to separate the two.
Biles jumped, twisted and strutted at will, and it turned into a victory dance in front of the many thousands clapping to her music in the Sports Palace.
“On floor I just have a lot of fun. That is the main key,” Biles said.
Aliya Mustafina of Russia, the 2010 champion, took bronze. Defending champion Jordyn Wieber and Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas skipped the event.
Biles also qualified for all four apparatus weekend finals — the first female U.S. gymnast to do so since Shannon Miller in 1991.
Ross, who is also 16, led by a feather light .016 points going into the floor routine, but there Biles turned on the power to win. Biles scored 60.216 points, while Ross ended with 59.332. Mustafina had 58.856.
Together, Biles and Ross showed the strength in depth the U.S. team has early in the new Olympic cycle ahead of the 2016 Rio Games.
“We are hoping that these girls keep going all the way to the Olympics,” U.S. women's coach Martha Karolyi said.
And as good friends, Biles and Ross can go a long way together.