STUTTGART, Germany — Simone Biles’ latest record has a golden hue.
Biles became the most-decorated gymnast, male or female, at the world championships Sunday, winning gold on balance beam. It was her 24th medal at worlds, breaking the record she — briefly — shared with Vitaly Scherbo.
Mind you, Scherbo, who competed for the Soviet Union, Unified Team and Belarus at five world championships, had two more events in which to collect his medals.
When Biles saw her score, a 15.066, a huge grin spread across her face and she jumped out of her seat. She threw a couple of roundhouse punches before exchanging high fives with coach Laurent Landi. It was her 18th gold at the world championships, extending her own record.
Biles is likely to add to her record later Sunday. She also will compete in the final for floor exercise, where she is the reigning world and Olympic champion.
Though Biles is not motivated by medals, she wanted this beam gold. Badly.
She was the world champion on the event in 2014 and 2015. But a mistake on beam at the Rio Olympics – her foot slipped on the landing of a front tuck and she had to grab the beam to keep from falling off – shook her confidence.
A wobbly routine at last year’s world championships didn’t help. She was the bronze medalist in both Rio and at last year’s worlds.
“I was like, ‘I guess I’m just never going to do well on beam again,’ ” Biles told USA TODAY Sports on Friday in an exclusive interview.
But Cecile Landi, who coaches Biles with her husband, Laurent, and is responsible for beam, helped Biles regain her swagger. She was the most consistent gymnast on the event, posting the highest score in qualifying, team final and the all-around.
“My main goal is to go out there and compete beam