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US gymnast Simone Biles, who has dominated the sport since the 2013 World Championships, is often described as “the greatest gymnast of all time” and “superhuman.” The 21-year-old phenom proved herself worthy of both labels at the recently held World Championships in Doha, Qatar when she won a medal in every discipline, including four golds, while battling a painful kidney stone.
Biles was rushed to hospital on the eve of her first event on October 26, after experiencing dull pain on the right side of her abdomen. The good news was the discomfort was the result of a kidney stone, not appendicitis, which would have required immediate surgery. The bad news? It was too big to pass and had to be surgically extracted. But since the procedure was not urgent, the spunky athlete decided not to let what she nicknamed “The Doha Pearl” get in the way of helping the USA make more gymnastics history. She tweeted to her worried fans, “this kidney stone can wait . . . doing it for my team . . . I’ll be gucci girls.”
True to her word, the following day Biles posted the highest individual scores on the beam, vault, and floor, and was second on uneven bars through five of 11 qualifying groups. Her most impressive performance came on the vault when she became the first female gymnast to complete what will now be called “The Biles” – a complicated routine involving a roundoff, half-twist onto the structure, followed by a front double full off.
All in all, Biles took home six medals – golds in the team final, the all-around, floor, and the vault, bronze on beam, and silver on uneven bars, traditionally her weakest routine. In addition to being the first American, male or female, to medal in every event, she is also the first woman of any nationality to do so since Romania’s Daniela Silivas achieved the feat at the 1988 Olympics. Additionally, the fantastic gymnast now holds the most all-around golds (4) in World Championship history, and her overall win of 20 medals matches the record held by Russia’s Svetlana Khokrina. Biles is most likely also the first athlete to accomplish the feats while battling a painful kidney stone, for which she took minimal medication for fear of failing the strict drug tests.
Following the games, the modest Biles said, “I think there’s a lot to be proud, but I’m most proud of that I’m here, I made all the event finals, medaled in all of the events and I survived.” The athlete, who planned to go on a short vacation following the removal of her kidney stone, is hoping to “feel even more confident” in 2019. We for one cannot wait to see what she will be able to achieve when not plagued by a painful ailment! If history is any indication, it will probably be more outstanding gymnastic routines and at least a handful more gold medals!
Resources: Thegurdian.com, ESPN.com,nola.com