Simone Biles headlines most decorated U.S. gymnastics team in world champs history
Simone Biles is joined by three more past world champions on the most decorated U.S. women’s gymnastics team — by previous medals won — in world championships history.
Biles, a record 25-time world medalist, earned the first spot on the roster for October’s worlds by winning a selection camp all-around competition Tuesday (by a matter of inches).
A selection committee picked the other four women — announced Wednesday — who will travel to Antwerp, Belgium, for worlds that start Oct. 1.
The group includes 2022 World champion team members Shilese Jones (a three-time world medalist), Leanne Wong (a three-time world medalist) and Skye Blakely.
Joscelyn Roberson, a world championships rookie, rounds out the team. Kayla DiCello, the 2021 World all-around bronze medalist, is the alternate.
Biles’ 25 medals alone are more than any previous U.S. women’s team totaled going into a worlds.
It’s the second time that four members of a U.S. women’s team competing at a worlds already own world championships gold medals.
In 2015, Biles, Gabby Douglas, Aly Raisman and Madison Kocian were returning world champions.
The U.S. is going for a seventh consecutive world women’s team title, a streak that began in 2011.
The only nation to beat the U.S. at worlds or the Olympics in the last 15 years is Russia, which has been banned from international competition for the last year and a half due to the invasion of Ukraine.
Biles, 26, is set to become the first U.S. gymnast to compete at six worlds and the oldest U.S. woman to compete at worlds in more than 50 years. She competed in August for the first time since the Tokyo Games. In her first three all-arounds, she posted the world’s top three scores in this Olympic cycle, according to the Gymternet.
Jones, 21, considered quitting elite gymnastics after placing 10th at the Tokyo Olympic Trials. A year later, she placed second in the world.
This year, she returned from a torn labrum in her shoulder from February to place second to Biles at August’s U.S. Championships and at the selection camp. She would have become the second gymnast to outscore Biles in a one-day all-around in the last decade if her feet didn’t brush the mat on her closing uneven bars routine Tuesday.
Wong, who turned 20 on Wednesday, is set to compete at a third consecutive worlds. A Tokyo Olympic alternate, she was then the 2021 World all-around silver medalist. She made the 2022 World team after her freshman season at the University of Florida. She placed third in the all-around at last month’s nationals after her sophomore year in Gainesville.
Blakely was, at 17, the youngest member of the team at the 2022 Worlds, where she placed fifth on the balance beam. This year, she was fourth in the all-around at nationals and third at the selection camp.
Roberson, 17, went from 18th in her senior nationals debut last year to making the world team this year. In between, she moved from the Texas-Arkansas border city of Texarkana to train at Biles’ gym outside Houston. Her best events are floor exercise and vault.
Jade Carey, the Olympic floor gold medalist and reigning world champion on vault, and Jordan Chiles, an Olympic team silver medalist, did not make the team.
Carey had the highest first vault score at the selection camp but was 11th and 17th on floor, respectively, at nationals (where she was dealing with an arm injury) and the selection camp.
Chiles was fifth in the all-around at nationals and ninth at the selection camp. She took a break after her sophomore season at UCLA and had an abbreviated, month-long run-up to compete at summer elite meets.
Suni Lee, the Tokyo Olympic all-around champion, declined an invitation to the selection camp. Lee posted Wednesday that it was a difficult decision, she prioritized her health and that she’s “not in the best shape” right now.
She trained and competed through two kidney diseases this summer, limiting her to two apparatuses at nationals.