Simone Biles Becomes Most Decorated Gymnast In History The 22-year-old Simone Biles won her 24th and 25th medals at the world gymnastics championships in Germany over the weekend, surpassing the previous 23 medals won by male gymnast Vitaly Scherbo.
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Simone Biles Becomes Most Decorated Gymnast In History

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Simone Biles Becomes Most Decorated Gymnast In History

Simone Biles Becomes Most Decorated Gymnast In History

Simone Biles Becomes Most Decorated Gymnast In History

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/770005638/770005639" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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The 22-year-old Simone Biles won her 24th and 25th medals at the world gymnastics championships in Germany over the weekend, surpassing the previous 23 medals won by male gymnast Vitaly Scherbo.

NOEL KING, HOST:

All right. So as reporters, we usually try to avoid superlatives or hyperbole because saying something is the longest or the biggest or the best is just hard to fact-check.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Except in this case. Over the weekend, that last superlative - best - became a cold, hard fact for one gymnast.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER #1: 15.066 - on top is Biles.

INSKEEP: Twenty-two-year-old Simone Biles became the greatest gymnast of our time or any time in history after winning her 24th medal, her 24th medal at the gymnastics world championships in Stuttgart, Germany.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER #2: We have just had the true honor of watching her make history again.

UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER #1: And it is a gold medal once again for Simone Biles.

KING: But she did not stop there. Biles also landed her 25th gold medal. That's two more than the previous world record-holder, a man from Belarus named Vitaly Scherbo.

INSKEEP: Simone Biles took home five golds this weekend. And when asked by NBC Sports if she will return to the world championships next year, let's just say she's not letting go of her options.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: You think this is your last?

SIMONE BILES: We'll see. Maybe. I don't know.

KING: Simone Biles is 22 years old, which may not sound old - and in fact, it is not old (laughter)...

INSKEEP: No.

KING: ...But Christine Brennan of USA Today Sports says gymnastics is typically a teenager sport, and that's part of what makes Biles so amazing.

CHRISTINE BRENNAN: Here's Simone Biles, at 22, performing at the greatest heights not only of her career but of anyone's career in the history of her sport. And this is extraordinary, especially in a sport that is known for being one step away from disaster.

INSKEEP: OK. So Biles may or may not participate in any more world championships, but this doesn't mean she's satisfied in her taste for victory.

KING: Yeah, that's right. At the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Biles is going after one medal that she didn't get four years ago in Rio - it's a gold on the balance beam. Christine Brennan says she could pull it off.

BRENNAN: I fully expect her to be, if not the star of the Tokyo games, certainly one of the biggest names in all of the Olympics and in any sport.

INSKEEP: Don't know if she'll get that medal, but the 22-year-old acknowledges her 25 medals have already made history.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

BILES: It's older than my age, so I'm pretty thrilled with it.

[POST-BROADCAST CORRECTION: In this story, we misstate the number of gold medals Simone Biles has won as 25. In fact, Biles has won 25 world championship medals, several of which were gold.]

(SOUNDBITE OF EL TEN ELEVEN'S "TOMORROW IS AN EXCUSE FOR TODAY")

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Correction Oct. 14, 2019

In this story, we misstate the number of gold medals Simone Biles has won as 25. In fact, Biles has won 25 world championship medals, several of which were gold.