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Simone Biles leads US team at world gymnastics championships



ANTWERP, Belgium (AP) — Simone Biles led a dominant performance by the U.S. women at the world gymnastics championships, posting an all-around total of 58.865 to lead qualifying through two subdivisions Sunday.

The 26-year-old, who is a five-time all-around world champion and seven-time Olympic medalist, registered the best scores on floor exercise, vault and balance beam and the second-best score behind teammate Shilese Jones on uneven bars through the first portion of qualifying.

United States’ Simone Biles competes on the beam during Women’s Qualifications at the Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in Antwerp, Belgium, Sunday, Oct.1, 2023. The event will take place until Sunday, Oct. 8.

The American team of Biles, Jones, Skye Blakely, Leanne Wong and Joscelyn Roberson combined for a total of 171.395, which figures to be the best by a considerable margin by the end of qualifying. Italy was second at 162.230 through two of the 10 subdivisions.

Biles, whose 25 world championship medals (19 of them gold) is already a record, will get a chance to add substantially to that total throughout the week.

The U.S. will be heavily favored to win the team title on Wednesday. The all-around finals are Friday, with event finals scheduled for Saturday and Sunday.

Biles, who returned to competition this summer following a two-year break after the Tokyo Olympics, completed her signature Yurchenko double pike vault with ease, scoring a 15.766 even though she voluntarily took a half-point deduction so coach Laurent Landi could stand on the mat as a precaution.

Jones, who won three medals at the 2022 world championships, will join Biles in the all-around finals after posting a total of 56.932 led by a sparkling set on uneven bars, where her 14.833 led all competitors.

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