Simone Biles will finish what she is 99 percent sure is her final world championships with the most medals in history.
Biles earned a record-breaking 24th and 25th medals, winning the balance beam and floor exercise on the last day of the meet on Sunday. She earned five gold medals alone at these worlds, believed to be the most by one gymnast since Soviets Larisa Latynina and Boris Shakhlin in 1958 (when Latynina was pregnant).
Biles hit a clean beam routine and scored 15.066 points, distancing defending champion Liu Tingting of China by .633 of a point. Another Chinese, Li Shijia, took bronze, three tenths ahead of American Kara Eaker in fourth.
Biles then won her fifth floor exercise crown, tying the record for most world titles on one apparatus (Yuri Chechi, rings, and Svetlana Khorkina, uneven bars). Countrywoman Sunisa Lee took silver, a full point behind.
But Biles stands alone in total medals, passing 1990s Belarusian Vitaly Scherbo on Sunday. Biles did it more efficiently than Scherbo, competing one fewer year and with fewer medal chances (women compete on four apparatuses; men six). She already had the career gold medals record and upped it to 19 on Sunday.
Biles was uncharacteristically exuberant upon seeing her beam score, leaping out of her chair. Perhaps that should have been unexpected. Biles grabbed the beam to keep her balance in her last two global finals in Rio and at the 2018 World Championships, taking bronze each time.
She said on Saturday that if she could only have one medal from the apparatus finals at the Tokyo Olympics, it would be on beam.
Also Sunday, Sam Mikulak finished fifth on the high bar, which was won by Brazilian Arthur Nory. The U.S. men failed to earn a medal at a worlds for the first time since 2009. China failed to earn a gold for the first time since 1993.
Russians Nikita Nagornyy and Artur Dalaloyan went one-two on vault, just as they did in Friday’s all-around. Nagornyy earned his third gold of the meet.
Joe Fraser became the second British man to earn gold this week (Max Whitlock), taking a parallel bars final that lacked the usual suspects. Japanese Kazuma Kaya earned bronze, ensuring the 2020 Olympic host nation does not leave worlds without an individual medal for the first time since 2001.
SOURCE: NBC Sports, Nick Zaccardi