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Simone Biles goes into gymnastics history book again in world championships qualifying

Biles' qualifying routines for World Championships
Watch Simone Biles' qualifying routines in full from the World Gymnastics Championships in Antwerp, Belgium, including uneven bars, balance beam, floor, and vault.

ANTWERP, Belgium — Simone Biles made more history, and the U.S. women’s gymnastics team began what is expected to be a dominant run through the world championships with an impressive qualifying day Sunday.

Biles, in her first international meet since the Tokyo Olympics, performed the Yurchenko double pike vault that she awed domestic audiences with this past summer.

She became the first woman to land it internationally, which by rule means it gets named after her. There are now five “Biles” elements in the gymnastics code across vault, floor exercise and the balance beam.

“People I hope realize that maybe that’s one of the last times you’re going to see vault like that in your life from a women’s gymnast,” coach Laurent Landi said, adding that it hasn’t been decided if Biles will perform that vault on her next day of competition in Wednesday’s team final. “I think it’s time to appreciate that.”

GYMNASTICS WORLDS: Broadcast Schedule | Daily Guide | Results

Biles matched 48-year-old Uzbek Oksana Chusovitina with five named elements (one of Chusovitina’s is shared with another gymnast). Chusovitina bids to compete in a ninth Olympics next year.

The only woman with more named elements is Nellie Kim (seven, a 1970s and ‘80s Soviet star), according to the International Gymnastics Federation Code of Points.

Women’s qualifying began Sunday and finishes Monday.

Through three of 10 qualifying subdivisions, Biles has top the all-around score of 58.865 points. The only gymnast to score higher in this Olympic cycle is Biles (three times in August), according to the Gymternet.

“A lot of eyes on her right now,” Landi said. “She can still handle the nerves.”

Biles will be joined in Friday’s all-around final by countrywoman Shilese Jones (56.932 points), the 2022 World all-around silver medalist in Biles’ absence.

The U.S. women eye a record-breaking seventh consecutive world team title in Wednesday’s final. In qualifying, they totaled 171.395 points, distancing last year’s team silver medalist Great Britain by 5.265 points. For perspective, a fall during a routine costs a team one point.

Biles so far has the top score on beam, floor and vault. Jones has the top score on bars and will likely join Biles in the beam and floor finals. Joscelyn Roberson stands fourth in vault qualifying so far, hoping to join Biles in that final.

The top eight teams advance to Wednesday’s final. The top 24 all-around gymnasts make Friday’s final. Eight each make Saturday finals on the vault and uneven bars and Sunday’s finals on beam and floor.

A maximum of two gymnasts per country can compete in an individual final. Qualifying scores do not carry over to finals.