Simone Biles and Jake Jarman enjoy golden day at world championships

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Simone Biles closed out an incredible comeback meet after a two‑year layoff by winning gold on the balance beam and floor exercise at the Artistic Gymnastics World Championships as Britain’s Jake Jarman became world champion for the first time by winning the men’s vault competition.

“When I woke up this morning, I felt good,” Jarman said. “I just had a good feeling. I think it’s not really sunk in yet; it will probably sink in when I get home and relax. I’m just super happy to take my career to this stage.”

Biles, after two years away from international competition, has seamlessly resumed her dominance with five medals in Antwerp, winning gold in the all-around, team, balance beam and floor exercise competitions in addition to silver on the vault. Biles has a record 37 medals at world championships and Olympic Games.

It has been clear for some time that Jarman was capable of competing for world titles but last weekend his place in the final was in significant doubt. During the qualifying round the 21-year-old Briton fell while attempting his Yonekura vault, which packs in a total of three and a half twists.

“As soon as I sat that first vault down, I was definitely gutted, I was heartbroken,” he said. “Instantly, in my head, I was like: ‘I have not done it.’”

Such is the difficulty of his vaults, though, he scored well enough to sneak into the final. In the final, the difficulty of his two vaults was considerably greater than those of all of his competitors, who had no response after he nailed the Yonekura vault and the famed Dragulescu vault, a front double somersault with a half twist.

The final day of Biles’s comeback meet ended with a demonstration of her supreme mental strength and competitive fire. After a long, exhausting competition, the 26‑year‑old American saved her best balance beam routine for when it was most needed in the final, weaving through without a single balance check. Biles scored 14.800, edging out Zhou Yaqin of China by a tenth.

Biles closed out her meet by holding off Rebeca Andrade of Brazil to win her fourth gold medal on the floor exercise. Andrade, who beat Biles to gold on vault, has proven a worthy rival and their mutual admiration was clear. The 24‑year‑old enjoyed a historic championships herself, a bronze on the balance beam meaning she also left Antwerp with five medals.


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