US gymnastics queen Simone Biles equalled the all-time record of 23 medals at world championships with the 17th world title of her career in the vault final on Saturday. The 22-year-old needs only one more medal from her remaining three finals in Stuttgart to overtake Belarusian male gymnast Vitaly Scherbo, with the uneven bars to come later on Saturday. Biles took her third gold of the week with a winning score of 15.399 points ahead of US team-mate Jade Carey, who finished with silver, while Britain's Ellie Downie took bronze. The four-time Olympic champion had already won all-around gold and the team event this week to extend her record of most world gold medals. Biles retained the vault title she won in Doha last year by excelling on her two attempts, completing two and a half twists on her second effort. Less than a year before the Tokyo Olympics, Biles can potentially win six medals in Stuttgart with the women's beam and floor finals to come on Sunday.
Biles has refused to put herself under pressure for this weekend's vault, beam, uneven bars and floor finals, saying simply "we just have to see". Biles has repeatedly refused to regard herself as the greatest gymnast of all time. "Everyone puts that on me, I don't really put it on myself," she told reporters. Her coach Laurent Landi urged Biles to "calm down" as she closed in on Thursday's all-around gold and the Frenchman says he is proud of the consistency she has shown in Stuttgart.
"Now, we will see how it goes in the finals," he added. As the reigning Olympic and world champion, Biles is favourite to win Saturday's vault final, but faces tough competition later that day on the uneven bars. Her challengers are current world champion Nina Derwael of Belgium and Germany's Elisabeth Seitz, who finished ahead of Biles on Thursday. "I just want to take a nice bar routine for her (Biles) and whatever happens, happens," said Landi.
"There are some great names and it will be very, very tough for her to get a medal." Biles is also favourite to win Sunday's floor final, but has a point to prove in the day's beam final, on which she has so far been impressive in Stuttgart. She had to settle for bronze in the discipline at last year's world championships in Doha and her only blip at the 2016 Olympics was in the same event. A rare mistake, when she grabbed the beam, left her in bronze place, and it is something she has learnt from.