ANTWERP, Belgium (October 1, 2023) – The U.S. women’s team delivered a strong across-the-board performance on Sunday to put themselves far atop the current team qualifying rankings at the 2023 FIG World Championships.
The team of Simone Biles (Spring, Texas/World Champions Centre), Skye Blakely (Frisco, Texas/WOGA Gymnastics), Shi Jones (Auburn, Wash./Ascend Gymnastics Center), Joscelyn Roberson (Texarkana, Texas/World Champions Centre) and Leanne Wong (Overland Park, Kan./University of Florida Gymnastics) scored a massive 171.395 to propel them to the lead ahead of Great Britain in second (166.130) and Italy in third (162.230). Although 20 more countries have yet to compete in qualifying through Monday night, the U.S. is likely to advance to Wednesday’s team final.
Biles made her return to the World Championships a memorable one, performing her fifth career eponymous skill. The Yurchenko double pike vault, which she performed on the world stage for the first time Sunday, will now bear her name. Biles currently leads all-around competition with a 58.865. Her scores on vault (14.949; 15.266, 14.633), balance beam (14.566) and floor exercise (14.633) have also placed her on the top of each respective apparatus leaderboard. She is second only to teammate Jones (14.833) on uneven bars (14.400). Jones sits close behind Biles in the all-around in second with a 56.932 and has the second highest score on beam (14.033).
Also representing the U.S. among the top eight athletes in individual events are Roberson on vault in fourth with a 14.049 (14.466, 13.633) and Jones in third on floor with a 13.800.
As with the men, the top eight teams in qualifying will move onto Wednesday’s women team final. The best 24 gymnasts in the all-around, limited to two per country, will advance to the women’s all-around final on Friday, and the top eight athletes on each apparatus, also limited to two per country, will compete in their respective finals on Saturday and Sunday.
After placing second in qualifications Saturday evening, the U.S. men have held onto their position and officially secured Olympic and team final berths. The 19-year-old pair of Fred Richard (Stoughton, Mass./University of Michigan) and Asher Hong (Tomball, Texas/Stanford University) will both compete in the all-around final, ranking sixth and eighth in qualifying, respectively, while an American has found a place in every apparatus final except rings.
Richard will compete on floor, and Hong will be on parallel bars alongside veteran Yul Moldauer (Arvada, Colo./5280 Gymnastics). Khoi Young (Bowie, Md./Stanford University) qualified to the pommel horse and vault finals, and Paul Juda (Deerfield, Ill./University of Michigan) will participate in the vault and horizontal bar finals.
The championships continue Monday with the remaining women’s qualifying sessions. The U.S. will return to the world stage Tuesday, October 3 for the men’s team final beginning at 1:30 p.m. ET where the U.S. men look to medal for the first time since 2014.