Image Credit: [Time]
Despite suffering from kidney stones, Simone Biles won her fourth all-around gymnastics world title.
There are many people waiting for a kidney stone to pass that are bed ridden for days, even weeks. Not Simone Biles. After spending the night in the emergency room, Biles became the first female gymnast to win a fourth all-around world title, making her the most decorated female gymnast ever, at the World Championships in Qatar. This achievement marks Biles’ first international meet since the Olympics, where she again won the all-around championships for the USA.
Such achievements may lead some people to claim that she is the greatest athlete of 2018, which could be proven by the margin she won over her opponents. Biles outpaced Japan’s Mai Murakami by 1.693 points, despite arguably having the worst performance in a major competition in her career. Biles sat down on her vault in the opening rotation, as well as falling off the beam in the third rotation, prompting shock after her faultless performance in Rio 2016. Yet, despite these falls and Biles’ disappointment in her own overall performance, it is clear that with her ability to perform skills that no other female gymnast in the world could attempt, no-one is close to her supremacy.
Despite struggling with illness and training under a new coach, the American’s self-improvement is rather extraordinary. She managed a silver medal in the bars following a 14th place finish on the apparatus in Rio, showing the gymnast’s determination and self-drive. The overall haul of four golds, a silver and a bronze makes her the first American to capture a medal in every event at a major competition, an unlikely record to be matched any time soon.
Sadly, the same success cannot be said about Great Britain, yet the men’s team seem optimistic that they can improve on their fifth-place position. The team, made up of Max Whitlock, James Hall, Brinn Bevan, Joe Fraser and Dom Cunningham totalled 248.628, five marks behind bronze medallists Japan. Speaking to the BBC, Whitlock claimed “it was a tough job, but we can take a lot from this and improve a lot” – an encouraging statement from a young, ambitious team. With Whitlock also winning a silver on the pommel horse, after his execution score let him down against gold medal winning Chinese gymnast Xiao, it is clear that British gymnasts are establishing themselves as threatening competitors.
So, looking forward to Tokyo 2020, the main talking points are bound to be whether Biles will again dominate our television screens, and smash the records she herself has set. It is also exciting to see if Great Britain can claim some medals of their own, amongst the world’s greatest: America and China. However, I can say with certainty that Biles will be inspiring many young gymnasts of future generations.