The US women's gymnastics team finished first in the qualifying round of the 2019 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Stuttgart, Germany, by five whole points — and in the team final on Oct. 8, they did it again, winning by nearly six points. They scored a 172.330 in front of Russia (166.529) and Italy (164.796). This is their record-tying fifth consecutive World team title, and it's also their seventh win of all time. According to NBC Sports, the US has won every Olympic and World Championship team competition since 2011. Not to mention, this is Italy's first World medal since 1950.
At Worlds, three gymnasts compete on every event, and all three scores count. Five-time Olympic medalist and four-time World all-around champion (going for her fifth win on Thursday) Simone Biles competed in all four events, 2018 Worlds team gold medalist and 2019 Nationals bronze medalist Grace McCallum was up on vault and bars, 2019 Nationals floor and vault silver medalist Jade Carey was up on those two events, 2019 Nationals silver medalist Sunisa Lee competed on bars, beam, and floor, and 2018 Worlds team gold medalist Kara Eaker was up on beam. MyKayla Skinner, alternate at the 2016 Olympics and University of Utah collegiate gymnast, was the team's alternate here.
The US started strong on vault and led the competition from the first rotation by about a point and a half. Simone did not do her now-name-bearing double-double dismount off beam that she competed during the qualifying round on Oct. 5, but she did do her high-flying triple-double on floor, now called "The Biles II" (she landed it with a huge smile before soaring through the rest of a solid routine). Despite a mistake from Grace on bars, the US women were able to hang on during the second rotation and increase their lead to almost four points. They then stayed on top every rotation thereafter even with Sunisa's fall on beam. In the end, they won by almost six points.
Simone Biles claimed her 21st World Championship medal — her 15th gold — and is en route to tying or beating Belarusian gymnast Vitaly Scherbo's record of 23 World medals. She's already the most decorated female gymnast at a World Championships, which she accomplished at last year's Worlds due to a tiebreaker with Russia's Svetlana Khorkina. But now, she doesn't need that tiebreaker — 21 Worlds medals solidifies her at the top. And, placing on the podium three more times this week would tie the all-time record of any gymnast, male or female, while placing four times would surpass that record.
Simone said of her team's win, "To add the the legacy, it means the world, and it's super exciting to have the opportunity to compete for the country and bring back a gold medal." Sunisa told reporters, "I feel amazing. It's so crazy to be a world champion, and I'm so excited." She added that, on the medal stand, she was thinking about her dad who suffered a fall back in August that paralyzed him from the chest down (he now remains paralyzed from the waist down, USA Today reports).
Ahead, check out some of the team's highlights and photos from the competition. Plus, there's a lot more excitement to look forward to! Simone and Sunisa are in the all-around final on Thursday, Oct. 10. As for the World event finals on Oct. 12 and 13, you can see Simone compete all four events. Sunisa will compete in the bars and floor finals, and Jade will be in the vault final. We can't wait to see what else these dynamic, powerhouse women have in store!