ANTWERP, Belgium (AP) — All-around champions Kohei Uchimura of Japan and Simone Biles of the United States both added a gold in an individual event on Sunday to cap sterling performances at the gymnastic world championships.
Uchimura won the parallel bars to give Japan a fourth gold medal out of seven men's events. And Biles again showed off her power and jumps on the floor to finish off the best overall American performance ever at a worlds. Like Uchimura, she finished with two gold medals and four overall. The U.S. team finished with 12 medals, beating its previous best of nine at the 2005 Melbourne championships, and showed overwhelming domination of the weeklong event.
"We are ready to go for Rio," said U.S. women's coach Martha Karolyi. "Usually the year after the Olympics can be a little bit hard and rocky, but we were able to find again some of the old generation and add to that new faces."
None more so than the 16-year-old Biles, who showed maturity beyond her age to win the all-around and then back it up with the floor gold. "All the hard work has paid off," Biles. "I cannot ask for anything more."
The performance of the day came from Olympic high bar champion Epke Zonderland of the Netherlands, who set the Sports Palace alight with a routine full of gravity-defying leaps to win the last event of the championships, edging Fabian Hambuechen of Germany and making Uchimura settle for bronze.
After winning a record fourth all-around world title early in the week, Uchimura was at his best again in the parallel bars, enough for a shared gold with China's Lin Chaopan. Already acknowledged as the greatest gymnast ever, it was Uchimura first gold in the parallel bars. Usually serene and withdrawn, Uchimura was pumping his fists and flashing big smiles to the thousands in the Sports Palace after John Orozco of the United States took third place.
Aliya Mustafina won Russia's first gold medal of the championships, edging Kyla Ross of the U.S. on the balance beam. Mustafina, the 2010 all-around champion, was near flawless as she twirled, twisted and jumped at will on the narrow beam, and then watched Ross and Biles fall short of surpassing her. It was Ross' third silver of the championships. Biles took bronze.
In the men's vault, South Korea's Yang Hak-seon continued to dominate. The defending and Olympic champion brought a difficult new vault to Antwerp and performed it well enough to slip past American rival Steve Legendre. Kristian Thomas of Britain took bronze.