(Reuters) - American Simone Biles emerged as the most-decorated gymnast at the 2014 world championships in southern China on Sunday after winning the balance beam and floor exercise events to take her gold medal tally to four on the last day of competition.
The 17-year-old kept her calm in the balance beam final, during which a number of her rivals made errors, to achieve the top difficulty mark and finish ahead of China’s Bai Yawen and defending champion Aliya Mustafina of Russia.
Biles, who also won a silver in the women’s vault final on Saturday, returned in the afternoon to retain her floor exercise title from last year. Romania’s Larisa Iordache took silver while Mustafina bagged another bronze.
“Oh, it feels just amazing, and it is honor to get here representing the United States,” said Biles, who earlier won the all-around and women’s team titles in Nanning.
Biles alone won half of America’s 10 medals and helped the country finish ahead of China in the standings with the hosts finishing the meet with seven medals, including three golds.
London Olympics gold medalist Epke Zonderland from the Netherlands thrilled the crowd by increasing his difficulty on his way to retaining the men’s horizontal bar crown.
“It was really good for me today. My own routine was so flawless. I don’t know if it could have been any better at this stage,” the 28-year-old, nicknamed ‘The Flying Dutchman’, said.
“I added one new element to increase my start value by 0.500 points, so that’s quite a lot, and during this routine I had a much better feeling about the high bar because I could train for one week and get used to the different material.”
Japan’s Kohei Uchimura, who won his fifth consecutive world all-around title on Thursday, finished with a silver for his third medal of the meet.
North Korea’s Ri Se Gwang won the men’s vault as reigning Olympic and world champion Yang Hak Seon of South Korea bowed out after two landing errors.
Ukraine’s Igor Radivilov and American Jacob Dalton took silver and bronze respectively.
The day’s other gold medal went to Ukraine’s Oleg Verniaiev, whose higher execution score took him above American Danell Leyva in the men’s parallel bars.
Writing by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; Editing by John O'Brien