After a wobbly performance to open up the balance beam final Saturday at the world championships in Doha, Qatar, it looked like Simone Biles’ quest to medal in every event at this competition would be coming to an end.
Instead, the four-time Olympic champion turned out to be one of the best on a day filled with falls, wobbles and very strict judging. Biles stayed on the beam but was awarded just a 7.4 for execution. Her 13.600 set the early pace.
Then as other notable contenders fell, including Team USA’s Kara Eaker, Biles’ score kept her on the podium and got her yet another medal at worlds. Canada’s Anne-Marie Padurariu took the silver medal with a 14.100 and China’s Tingting Liu won gold with 14.533.
With floor exercise still to come on Saturday, Biles has a chance to become the first woman to make the podium in every event at a single world championships since Yelena Shushunova of the Soviet Union in 1987.
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With her silver medal on uneven bars on Friday, Biles has already medaled in every event over the course of her career. Now with 19 career world medals, Biles is just one shy of tying the all-time women’s record.
The bronze medal was Biles’ fourth world medal on beam, adding to two golds from 2014 and 2015 and a bronze from 2013.
Eaker, making her worlds debut at the age of 15, was expected to be a medal contender as a balance beam specialist. But she had trouble from the start on Saturday as she fell after a huge wobble right off a difficult leaping mount.
Todd Kortemeier is a sportswriter, editor and children’s book author from Minneapolis. He is a contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.