Simone Biles dominated at the world gymnastics championships in Stuttgart, Germany, on Tuesday, winning her 21st medal and breaking the female record for most world gymnastics championships medals.
“Every year it feels better and better just because we’re adding to the legacy,” Biles, 22, said of herself and the U.S. team, according to the Associated Press. “I feel like I never think of records. I just go out there and do what I came to do, which is compete for the country.”
The medal, Biles’ 15th career goal, broke a tie with Russian gymnast Svetlana Khorkina, the AP reported. Now, Biles is just two medals away from breaking Vitaly Scherbo’s all-time record of 23, which would give her the most world championships medals of any man or woman.
The U.S. team beat out second-place Russia, earning a score of 172.330 points, the AP reported. It is the team’s seventh consecutive title at a world championships or Olympics.
“It’s just so surreal to come out here and end up on top with the strength of the team that we have, even after having a couple falls out there,” Biles said, according to the AP. She called the glowing, battery-powered prize “the sickest medal we’ve ever had.”
Video footage showed Biles blowing away the competition on the balance beam, the vault and the floor. She had already made gymnastics history earlier in the week by successfully landing the triple-double during her floor routine and then the double-double dismount on the balance beam. Team USA confirmed on Twitter that the impressive feat ensures the triple-double will be named the Biles II, in honor of the athlete.
The stellar performances were likely a relief for Biles, who said she’s usually overwhelmed with nerves before competing.
“Sometimes I wish I would quit,” she said, according to NBC Sports. “The other day, we walked out there, and I was like, I literally hate this feeling, and I don’t know why I keep forcing myself to do it … But, you know, we love the thrill of it. Reminds me to never give up because one day I won’t have the opportunity to get that feeling.”
Her accomplishments in Stuttgart earned her praise from fans and athletes alike, including Lebron James, who wrote in a tweet: “Simone you are flat out INCREDIBLE!!!”
Biles already had two moves named for her, one in the floor exercise and one on a vault, CNN reported.
Although she boasts a record-breaking career as a decorated gymnast, Biles has said she doesn’t call herself a superstar.
“If I were to label myself as a superstar, it would bring more expectations on me and I would feel pressured, more in the limelight, rather than now,” Biles explained during a press conference before the 2019 FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in Germany.
“I just go out there and compete. I try to represent Simone… not ‘Simone Biles’ whenever I go out there, because at the end of the day, I’m still a human being before I’m ‘Simone Biles, the superstar.’ “
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