That jump, a double-carped Yurchenko, now takes the name of the 26-year-old American, with Biles being the first woman to do so in an international competition.

It was awarded a score of 15.266 points, far ahead of the competition. And again! His coach having positioned himself on the side of the mat for safety, it was removed 0.5 penalty points.

In total, she accumulated 58.865 points at the end of the four apparatus and took the lead in qualifying after the first three subdivisions (out of ten). With her teammates Shilese Jones, Leanne Wong, Skye Blakely and Joscelyn Roberson, the Americans total 171.395 and will be hard to dislodge from first place.

Simone Biles is making her return to the international level in Antwerp, two years after a tough Tokyo Olympics. Arriving in Japan as a big favorite after his four titles won five years earlier in Rio, Biles had cracked, withdrawing from most of the events because of "twisties", brutal losses of any landmark in space.

On Sunday, she gave the impression that she had never stopped. Yet the four-time Olympic champion completely cut out from the gym for more than a year to take care of her mental health and only returned to competition last August.

"She did!"

The American, luminous in her turquoise sequined leotard, began her qualifying with a mastered exercise on the uneven bars (14.400 pts), before following with impeccable variations on the beam (14.566) and floor (14.633).

American Simone Biles competes in the uneven bars event during qualifying for the World Gymnastics Championships on October 1 in Antwerp (Belgium) © Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP

But it was on vault that she most dazzled the public of the diamond capital.

"She did it! That's all I can say," smiled his coach, Frenchman Laurent Landi. "She manages her nerves, she manages the pressure... It was the last apparatus (the jump), with fatigue... It's great, it's great."

"People, I hope, realize that this may be the only time in their lives that they will see a jump like this done by a female gymnast. It's time to appreciate this," he added of the famous double-carped Yurchenko.

A jump that starts with a rondade impulse and continues with a double backflip, the body bent in half and the legs extended, which she has actually mastered since 2021 and which she had planned to perform at the Tokyo Games.

It finally took two years and these Belgian Worlds to register it in the gymnastics scoring code, 21 years after China's Yang Wei did the same in the men's category. Sign of his difficulty, since the Chinese, only a handful of male gymnasts have dared him in competition.

With this jump, which requires power, speed, technique and a sense of timing, Biles baptizes a fifth technical element to his name in the gym code.

The American, who is competing in Antwerp in her first World Championships since 2019, did not speak after qualifying, crossing the mixed zone at full speed and with a big smile.

She will be back in the Sportpaleis of the Flemish port city on Wednesday for the women's team final.

© 2023 AFP