Simone Biles slipped at the world championships' floor exercise a few days ago. She flips, soars, and reaches heights that seem impossible for someone so little.
She leapt forward when her right foot hooked on the surface during a basic jumping exercise. Biles laughed and smirked after catching herself, as surprised as the spectators that she'd fallen.
She recovered fast and executed her final tumbling pass beautifully, scoring an outstanding score and winning her sixth worlds all-around gold medal, more than any other woman.
Since the Tokyo Olympics, Biles has gone through a lot. She battled with "the weight of the world on my shoulders," the anticipation that the American team would win another gold medal, and the twisties, a frightening sense of being disoriented in midair.
She withdrew from team and all-around competitions but earned bronze on balancing beam. Even though she was successful, social media commentators criticized her.
Biles worked to stabilize herself in the months that followed. She sought mental health counseling after learning that she is great at gymnastics but should also enjoy life outside the gym. She married Jonathan Owens, Biles' hometown Houston Texans defensive back, who became her husband.
Biles still stunted her opponents after two years away from international competition and a few months back in intense training. She was the first international competitor to accomplish a Yurchenko double pike vault, a difficult technique few men can perform, on the opening night of the meet.
She earned her sixth all-around gold, leading the U.S. women to a record seventh consecutive global team win, and won three additional medals in the event finals: floor, beam, and vault. This gives her 37 Olympics and world championship medals, more than any other woman or man.
Her victory in Belgium, where she won her first global all-around a decade earlier, overshadowed Tokyo's misery.