Simone Biles celebrates her gold medal in the vault at the 2018 FIG Artistic Gymnastics Championships on Nov. 2, 2018 in Doha, Qatar.
Simone Biles checked another big accomplishment off her list. Make that two.
The 21-year-old gymnast nailed both of her difficult vaults Friday in Doha, Qatar, to claim her first world title on the event. In doing so, she also took sole control of the career record for most world titles in a career with 13, breaking a tie she held for one day with former Russian men’s gymnast Vitaly Scherbo.
Biles’ two-vault average score of 15.366 topped second-place Shallon Olsen of Canada, who scored 14.516. Mexico’s Alexa Moreno was third at 14.508.
The win marked Biles’ third world title so far in Doha, with opportunities to win three more before the competition wraps tomorrow.
Despite having never won a vault world title, Biles is the defending Olympic champion on the event and came into Friday’s competition as the heavy favorite. Her start value of 6.4 during qualifications was 0.4 higher than the next best finalist.
Electing not to do her newly eponymous vault due to a limited warmup period, Biles instead opened with a nearly as difficult Cheng, a Yurchenko half-on front layout with 1.5 twists. Despite a step on the landing, she still scored a massive 15.266.
She followed that up with the Amanar, a Yurchenko back layout with 2.5 twists, again stepping forward but again putting up a massive score of 15.466.
A four-time Olympic gold medalist, Biles has 22 combined medals at the Olympic Games and world championships. With Friday’s result, she now has won world titles in every competition except uneven bars, and she’ll have an opportunity to do that later today after qualifying for those event finals with the second-best score. Teammate Morgan Hurd also qualified for bars final.
On Saturday, Biles will go for world titles on floor exercise and balance beam, the latter alongside teammate Kara Eaker.
Event finals began earlier on Friday with men’s floor exercise. American Yul Moldauer finished fourth with a score of 14.566, while Sam Mikulak was seventh at 14.233. Moldauer, who won a bronze medal on the event last year at his world championships debut, was bumped out of bronze-medal position in the final routine, ending his time in Doha.
Mikulak, meanwhile, has three more shots for his first individual world championships medal. He will compete pommel horse later today, and then on high bar and parallel bars on Saturday.
No American has won a medal on each event.
Chrös McDougall has covered the Olympic movement for TeamUSA.org since 2009, including the gymnastics national championships and Olympic trials every year since 2011, on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc. He is based in Minneapolis-St. Paul.