Simone Biles could win up to six medals at Tokyo 2020.
The American gymnastics star comes to the Olympic Games as the heavy favourite for four gold medals in the team, all-around, vault and floor competitions. A fifth gold on the balance beam, where Biles is three-time and reigning World champion, is certainly not out of the question. In Rio, she won four golds (team, all-around, vault and floor) and one bronze (beam).
No woman has ever won five Olympic gold medals in gymnastics at a single Games, though five, including Biles, have won four. Two men have won five or more, with the Unified Team’s Vitaly Scherbo taking six at Barcelona 1992 and American Anton Heida collecting five at the 1904 Games in St. Louis.
But it’s also possible that the 24-year-old picks up hardware on the uneven bars and thus all six of the medal rounds, a feat she produced at the 2018 World Championships. At that event, she was the champion in the team, all-around, vault and floor finals, and added uneven bars silver and balance beam gold.
The Soviet Union’s Maria Gorokhovskaya owns the record for most Olympic artistic gymnastics medals by a woman with seven in 1952 when the programme included team portable apparatus (the precursor to today’s rhythmic gymnastics). Seven other women have collected six gymnastics medals with Romania’s Daniela Silivas (1988) the most recent.
Biles has two other notable medal record possibilities in Tokyo. Having won 30 world and Olympic medals from 2013-2019, she needs three more medals to tie Scherbo’s record (33) and four to pass it. If she repeats her five-gold haul from the 2019 Worlds, she would tie Larisa Latynina’s Olympic gymnastics gold record at nine.